Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has some tough questions to answer after suffering a fifth loss in his past six fights but this isn’t the end of the line for him yet.
After his original opponent Diego Sanchez was pulled from UFC Vegas 26 and then released by the promotion, Cerrone had to decide if he wanted to remain on the card against somebody new or wait until a later date to compete again.
In the end, he chose to fight at welterweight against late-notice replacement Alex Morono but “Cowboy” ultimately suffered a first round TKO in the co-main event on Saturday night.
“It’s just a rough day in the office,” Cerrone told ESPN after the fight. “This game can get changed, all it takes is one big shot. He hit me with a good one, set me back. Hit me with another one. I could hear my coaches say grab a hold of him and it’s like I don’t know if I can take three of them.
“The kid came hungry, ready, no excuses on my end. I was ready. We warmed up great, came out started early, who knows.”
Despite his best effort to dispel the reputation that he’s a slow starter, Cerrone charging out of the gate also gave Morono the openings he needed to play the matador on the feet while then firing back with a series of blistering counters. A massive overhand right during one particular exchange put Cerrone on wobbly legs and it was just a few moments later when Morono put together the series of punches that forced the referee to stop the contest.
“I should have been kicking more for sure,” Cerrone said about his performance. “Should have been a little bit more busy with my jab but I knew he had big overhand monsters. I was trying to not get tagged by one of those and it didn’t work.”
It was hard for the emotion of the moment not to overwhelm Cerrone, who walked into the fight with his back already against the wall after UFC president Dana White previously hinted that he might need to talk to the welterweight and lightweight veteran about his future after suffering numerous consecutive defeats in a row.
This latest performance won’t help matters much as Cerrone continues to search for the answers to break his losing streak.
“Heartbroken for sure,” Cerrone said. “I don’t know. Don’t know what to answer you on is it that time. I don’t know. I don’t feel like it but how I feel and how I perform are two different things. It sucks. Who knows. I wanted to go back to 55, those boys at 70 hit hard, they’re big boys, but like I said, no excuses. That kid came in, he was ready.
“It’s definitely hard to break a streak, isn’t it? I need to break the damn streak cause it’s brutal. I wish I had the answers but I don’t.”
While Cerrone still believes he has the speed, power and reaction time to deal with a younger generation of opponents, he understands that time waits for no one in combat sports.
That said, Cerrone refuses to concede that he’s already fought his last fight just because Saturday night didn’t go his way. In fact, Cerrone believes he’ll know when it’s time to retire before he actually sets foot in the octagon but he refuses to let a first round TKO serve as the final notation on his resume.
“Absolutely not [my last fight]. No way. I’ll never go out like this,” Cerrone said. “I will, 100 percent I’ll know [it’s the last fight] and I’ll come in and sh*t hopefully I go in whipping ass right off. There’s no way I’d end like this. I couldn’t let my legacy end like this.
“But I’ll call the boss man and say ‘hey man, I know it’s been a rough couple years but when it’s time, let me bow out right.’”