With the end of his legendary career in sight, Cowboy Cerrone says there is something special about setting records that are nearly impossible to reach.
On Saturday, Cerrone competes under the UFC-WEC banner for the 49th time, and he plans to go for No. 50 before calling it a career. He believes that will put him in a category all his own with a record that stands the test of time.
“My plan, I want to put records where people can’t even touch,” Cerrone said during UFC 276 media day. “Fifty fights under Zuffa – I want these young kids to be like ‘I’m just fighting to get one or two to keep my job, and he’s got 50 of them?’ To me that’s cool.
“To put statements down like that so this is huge. This is legacy fighting. That’s what it’s all about now.”
Even more emphasis was added to Cerrone’s return at UFC 276 when he got matched up with Jim Miller, who is a record-setting fighter in his own right; Miller has the most fights in UFC history with 39 and is tied with Cerrone and Andrei Arlovski for most wins inside the octagon with 23 total.
With a chance for the winner to take the lead in most wins, Cerrone is excited to face another veteran like Miller, much like he was for an ill-fated matchup with Joe Lauzon.
“Joe would have been fun, too,” said Cerrone, whose two bouts with Lauzon were canclelled on short notice. “Jim’s going to be just as fun. Jim is gonna bite down and come play. It will be fun, but this is one of those fights where someone’s O must go!
“We’re legends. It’s cool to be in that state. To fight another guy in the same category, and we’re setting more records.”
The rematch against Miller comes eight years after their first meeting, which Cerrone ended with a vicious head kick. Both fighters have done a lot since then, but lately, they’ve been on slightly different career trajectories with Miller earning back-to-back knockout wins in his previous two outings while Cerrone attempts to battle back from an 0-5 record (1 no-contest) in his past six fights.
As impressive as Miller has been as of late, Cerrone admits he didn’t know what his opponent’s resume looked like, though he’s glad the New Jersey native has found so much success.
“God, that would mean I had to watch fights,” Cerrone said with a laugh. “I have no idea to be honest. I apologize to Jim. I just have no idea. Good for him, I’m glad. That’s awesome.”
Win, lose or draw on Saturday, Cerrone has made it clear that he plans to come back at least one more time to add that 50th fight under the Zuffa banner. Of course, he can’t deny a win over Miller and another victory might get him a call back for another fight and he knows himself well enough that he probably wouldn’t turn down the opportunity.
That said, Cerrone won’t concern himself with who might end up as his final opponent whether that comes in his next fight or somewhere else down the road.
“If they call me for 51, I’m going to say all right, I’ll be there,” Cerrone said. “I don’t care, it doesn’t matter. I never gave much for the opponent. Whoever wants to have some fun and hopefully it’s a big New Year’s card or a Fourth of July card, a nice big blowout. A nice goodbye but the opponent whoever wants to bite down and have some fun.
“It’s kind of weird to ask or think about but 50’s a pretty solid number for me. It’s fun now I’m not fighting for anybody but myself. I don’t have to worry about anything. I don’t have to go out there and try and ‘this one’s for you grandpa, this one’s for you, I want to show my submission game.’ How about Cowboy you just go get 50 because god***** you want 50. That’s kind of where I’m at my life now.”