‘Cowboy’ looking to make history, not get revenge
New Mexico’s Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone says tonight’s fight in his original hometown of Denver is about making history, not dwelling on the past.
The 35-yearold mixed martial artist originally from Broomfield, Colo., who has long since made his home in and fought out of Albuquerque and Edgewood, says despite the drama surrounding tonight’s comain even welterweight showdown with “Platinum” Mike Perry at UFC Fight Night Denver, he’s focused on getting a victory that would make him the winningest fighter in UFC history.
Cerrone (33-11, 20-8 in UFC fights) is tied with Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre with 20 wins under the UFC umbrella.
“We shut down the winningest UFC fighter in history when I go out there and win on Saturday,” Cerrone told the Journal. “That’s a big one. That’ll be cool.”
While that’s what the legacy of this fight could be down the road, the here and now of it all has MMA media and fight fans focused on the ugly break up between Cerrone and Mike Winkeljohn, co-owner of the worldfamous Jackson-Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque where Cerrone trained until this fight.
The reason? His opponent, the 27-year-old Perry (12-3), also trains at Jackson-Wink and Cerrone feels went behind his back to get this fight. Cerrone in August went public on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast saying Winkeljohn forced him out of the gym in favor of Perry.
“(Winkeljohn called and) says, ‘You know what, I thought about it and if we don’t have Perry, then I don’t get paid, and I need to get paid for this,’” Cerrone said in the interview. “Basically tells me I’m no longer welcome in the gym.”
Winkeljohn denied forcing Cerrone out, but didn’t initially hold back criticism of the fighter who has spent a lot of his time and training in recent years ad his BMF Ranch in Edgewood.
“Loyalty is two sides,” Winkeljohn told MMAjunkie.com. “‘Cowboy is not loyal to anybody in the gym. He’s on his own. He does his own thing. He has not, from what I can remember in the last 10 years, ever helped anybody out with their own camp. He’s as narcissistic as they come.” Fast forward to today. Cerrone, is still training with longtime mentor Greg Jackson and plans to do so in the future, just independent of the JW team.
Winkeljohn, training Perry, recently told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani he would welcome Cerrone back, but Cerrone isn’t interested.
“I’ve parted ways with them and that’s that,” Ceroone said, referring to the gym as a while, not Jackson. “I’m just focused on the fight, but I’ve parted ways with Winkeljohn. I’ll never look back . ... I’ve been working with Greg for this camp and I’ll continue to work with Greg Jackson. He’s a great guy and a great friend. But Mike Winkeljohn? No sir.”
As for Perry, the betting favorite tonight, Cerrone says “He’s new school, with an old school brawler mentality.”
But is there skill there to back up the brawler’s mentality?
“No. He’s just a brawler,” Cerrone said. “He’s very dangerous because he can catch you with forward pressure and big punches, those are dangerous. But other than that, I’ll keep my distance, pick him apart and head kick him.”