Print and Go Back ESPN.com: MMA [Print without images]

Saturday, December 31, 2011
Cerrone goes down swinging with no regrets

By Chuck Mindenhall



LAS VEGAS -- The volume in which Donald Cerrone fought in 2011 couldn’t catch up to the volume of jabs coming at him as the year closed out. Cerrone looked to become the first fighter to win five fights in a calendar year in the UFC since Roger Huerta in 2007 when he fought Nate Diaz at UFC 141.

Didn’t happen, as Diaz outboxed Cerrone through three rounds en route to a unanimous decision (30-27 twice, 29-28).

In a year where he was perpetually thrust onto cards, on short notice and with full training camps, against familiar foes and stand-ins, Cerrone insisted that he didn’t overextend himself in 2011. In fact, “Cowboy” made it clear he’s willing to fight as often as he’s needed.

“No, a lot of people were saying that, like I took too many fights -- no I didn’t,” he said at the postfight newser. “Sometimes you show up, sometimes you don’t. I felt flatfooted -- I’m not making any excuses. [Diaz] went out there and was better than me, and that’s all there is to it. I’ll take 20 fights next year, I don’t care. Some days you show up, some days you don’t. And like I said, the dude’s a warrior.”

Cerrone, who was on edge heading into the fight as the feud between him and Diaz escalated throughout the week, rushed in from the bell, looking to settle things as quickly as he did Charles Oliveira and Dennis Siver in his previous bouts (each first-round finishes).

But it was evident early on that Diaz was ready for the onslaught, as the Stockton, Calif., native began landing his trademark jabs in volume and using his reach to mix in some combinations. Diaz strafed him from a distance at will, and, though Diaz had his legs kicked out from under him on numerous occasions, Cerrone never followed him to the ground. Instead, Cerrone opted to cooperate with Diaz on the feet.

Why?

“I wanted to stand, I wanted to play,” he said. “And I got outboxed. I talked a lot of s---, and the bigger, badder dog showed up tonight. My hat’s off to [Diaz], and it was a good fight. And I’d do it again. That’s the one promise I make every fight, [that I’ll fight] to the end every time.”

In other words, Cerrone doesn’t have any regrets for either fighting too often in 2011 or for his approach heading in to UFC 141. There was a lot of talk that, should he get by Diaz, he might be next in line for a shot at the lightweight title against the winner of Benson Henderson/Frankie Edgar. But that was mostly media fodder; Cerrone just wants to fight. Even if the guy he’s fighting mirrors his moving-forward approach and keeps bringing it for three rounds.

“It’s awesome,” Cerrone said of fighting the aggressive Diaz. “It’s what I like to do, and to have it done to me ... that’s what makes fights, right? That to me was fun. That was a good time. I mean, we’re standing there and throwing and that’s what everybody likes to see. So I’m glad I didn’t quit, I’m glad he didn’t quit ... What else can you ask us to do? I think I gave you everything I had.”

He did, and 2011 was a memorable run. And hey, going 4-1 in a calendar year is nothing to hang your head about.