‘Cow­boy’ look­ing to make his­tory, not get re­venge

Albuquerque Journal - - HIGH SCHOOLS - BY GE­OFF GRAM­MER JOUR­NAL STAFF WRITER

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.”

Don­ald Cer­rone

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.