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Donald Cerrone’s coach says ‘Cowboy’ was in for short-notice fight with Mike Perry at UFC 226

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Donald Cerrone
Donald Cerrone
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Donald Cerrone is known for his “Cowboy” attitude toward fighting, but the last week has taken it to another level.

Last Saturday, Cerrone headlined UFC Singapore against Leon Edwards, losing a competitive unanimous decision. After the bout, Cerrone revealed that he came down with a sudden illness the day of the event that almost forced him out of the fight. Ultimately, Cerrone chose to fight anyway because, according to his coach Brandon Gibson, “Cowboy” is a competitor.

“Friday morning after weigh-ins he ate a little bit and he didn’t feel good,” Gibson told MMA Fighting. “Then Saturday he was feeling really ill, he hadn’t drank much, he couldn’t hold anything down. He was genuinely ill [but] we got to the arena and he was like, ‘Let’s cowboy up and do this.’ He was actually starting to vibe in the warm-up room. I could tell he wasn’t feeling good but was doing his best to get in that mindset. He was gonna go out there and compete.”

And Cerrone did compete, improbably winning the later rounds of the fight despite battling his bout of food poisoning. Apparently that wasn’t enough competition for “Cowboy,” though, because when Yancy Medeiros pulled out of his bout with Mike Perry on next weekend’s UFC 226 card, Cerrone answered the call to jump in — even though his girlfriend, Lindsey Sheffield was about to give birth to their son Dacson.

“He’s feeling great [now],” Gibson said. “If the fight would have been a day or two later or earlier it probably would have been a much better window to see him perform closer to his best. But that’s not how things get to shake out in the sporting world some days.

“He got the phone call [this week] to fight Mike Perry and he said yes. He’s under a medical suspension right now so it’s kind of off the table. His son hadn’t been born yet. Lindsey was probably having contractions. They were at the hospital and he was like, ‘Hey, do you have time to do this? I’m feeling good. I’m ready. I just came off an awesome camp. Mike’s been training out of JacksonWink but no hard feelings. Let’s go put on a show. I’ll step up.’”

Ultimately, the UFC opted to replace Medeiros with lightweight Paul Felder, who himself had a fight fall through last week, largely because Cerrone is still under medical suspension for a cut suffered in the Edwards fight on Saturday.

That could be a good thing for Cerrone who, at 35, could stand to slow down a little bit. That’s tough to do with him, though, because, according to Gibson, “Cowboy” is going to be “Cowboy” and sometimes you just have to go with it.

“I don’t want him fighting five times a year,” Gibson said. “I think those days are over, but he’s always gonna be that, ‘I’ll fight anyone, anywhere, anytime’ kind of guy. Some of these, you’ve just got to get up and ride with ‘Cowboy.’ That’s the life he’s gonna live.”