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Donald Cerrone wasn't going to sit out UFC 187, but he'll wait for title shot

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS -- For the first time in years, Donald Cerrone is willing to wait.

"Cowboy," the same guy who would fight every month if the UFC would let him, said during UFC 187 open workouts Wednesday that if the organization told him he would get a title shot with a win over John Makdessi on Saturday he would be patient and wait for that bout.

Cerrone isn't necessarily even campaigning that hard to be the next guy to take on champion Rafael dos Anjos. But he'll take it if it comes.

"If I win this fight and they say, 'Cowboy, we don't know what we're gonna do yet, have a seat,' I'm gonna say, 'Give me another fight,'" Cerrone said. "But if they say, 'Cowboy, we're giving you the title, here you go,' I'll sit and I'll wait and I'll go wakeboard my ass off all summer."

Cerrone was initially supposed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov in a title eliminator at UFC 187 on Saturday until Nurmagomedov injured his knee last month. That fight would have produced a clear next contender. Cerrone, instead, will face unranked lightweight John Makdessi.

Those around "Cowboy" -- and even fans -- told him to balk on that offer, because beating Makdessi does nothing for the perennial contender. Cerrone went for it anyway.

"It's kind of good," Cerrone said. "People are like, 'Yo 'Cowboy,' get the title, man.' But that's not my style. Like I was saying earlier today, I can't be the guy that says I want to fight anyone, anywhere, any time and in the same breath, 'Well, except this one.' F*ck it. Let's go."

Cerrone (27-6, 1 NC) has won seven in a row and is coming off a split decision victory over Benson Henderson at UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Siver in January. "Cowboy" also has wins over Edson Barboza, Myles Jury and Eddie Alvarez during the current streak. Even Nurmagomedov, who slammed Cerrone constantly leading up to the would-have-been bout, thinks "Cowboy" deserves the next title shot.

Dos Anjos, though, won't be ready until near the end of the year after facial surgery. Nurmagomedov said he'll be back by the fall after meniscus surgery. Cerrone thinks he'll fight Nurmagomedov at some point, but it's unclear if it'll be next. Nurmagomedov has called out both Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz recently.

"Not a bucket list, but it'll happen," Cerrone said. "Khabib is a very good fighter. He's going to be in the top ranks. Him and I will meet."

Nurmagomedov owns a win over dos Anjos, while dos Anjos has beaten Cerrone. Dos Anjos won the title from Pettis with a dominant unanimous decision at UFC 185 in March.

"Against Pettis, he looked awesome," Cerrone said. "He did everything right in that fight. So I'm sure he's going to be watching very closely on Saturday night. I'm excited to do rounds four, five, six, seven and eight with him. It's coming."

Maybe even after Saturday against Makdessi. "Cowboy" is a huge favorite and he held an impromptu workout Wednesday -- it wasn't on the schedule -- to show everyone "I'm not underestimating anyone."

"He's coming hard," Cerrone said. "I know he is. Absolutely, this is his win, win, win, win, win, win chance. So, it's also f*cking win-win for me."