Considering Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone has fought under the UFC banner 17 times in the past four years, it should be no surprise that when his original opponent for UFC 187 fell off due to injury, the only question in his mind was ‘who’s next?’.
Cerrone was supposed to face undefeated Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov with the winner likely in line to earn the next crack at UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. That plan came crashing down when Nurmagomedov suffered a knee injury in training that forced him to pull out of the fight all together.
Rather than forgo the fight card completely and possibly risk losing his top contender spot, ‘Cowboy’ stuck around. The Denver native has never had a problem rolling the dice because he’s never asked much about ‘who’ he’ll fight next, only ‘when’ he can fight again.
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"No, I was always there," Cerrone told FOX Sports. "Never was there even a maybe that I would drop off. As soon as Dana (White) called me, I said well find me somebody else."
The UFC found Canadian striker John Makdessi to step in on short notice to face Cerrone this weekend with a serious chance to play spoiler if he can find a way to win.
Makdessi has never fought the same level of competition as Cerrone, but he also has nothing to lose going into this matchup.
The pressure is all on Cerrone to go out and win and prove that he’s the No. 1 contender who should face dos Anjos next.
As monumental as the situation might seem from the outside looking in, Cerrone doesn’t really care much who he’s facing or what the obstacle is in front of him. Previously, he was facing a guy named Nurmagomedov. Now, the guy’s name is Makdessi.
Nothing much changed because Cerrone was always going to be ready for UFC 187.
"Fighting’s fighting. I’ll be there on Saturday night," Cerrone said with a smile.
Throughout his UFC career the only thing Cerrone has ever asked for was the opportunity to stay busy and earn more money inside the Octagon. 17 fights and 10 post-fight bonuses prove Cerrone has done both, but if all goes well on Saturday night he’s finally going to change up his demands for once.
"After this fight I will ask for the title shot. I’ll tell Dana I want that belt in Denver, Colorado," Cerrone said. "I want to go home."