As we wrapped up our Head to Head conversation with Clay Guida to break down Saturday's UFC on Fox 10 card earlier this week, we had to ask him a little more about his teammate Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. Cerrone made headlines recently by claiming that he was flat-broke and that he was hungry to fight again, and as often as possible, so that he could get some more cash and start saving it.
Guida knows the financial difficulties of fighting for a living and also knows Cerrone well. Is a broke Cerrone fighting from a good place, mentally, we asked Guida to guess.
"Look, everyone is different and reacts to things differently," Guida said.
"Different things make different people tick. When you're as good at so many things as he is, from being a professional wake-boarder to a mountain climber to doing rodeo stuff, I think you just do everything in extreme ways. But money is a good motivator so if 'Cowboy' says he is fighting to secure his financial future, more power to him. "
Fair enough. We were still interested in Cerrone's answer to the question, though.
Luckily, we didn't have to wait long as we caught up with The Team Jackson/Winkeljohn fighter a few minutes later. Cerrone flat-out shut down the idea that he could be distracted by being broke.
"Hell no, man," he told us.
"You have a short window, you know, and if I plan on living the lifestyle I want I’ve got to make a nest egg. So, let’s [expletive] rack ‘em and stack ‘em as fast as we can."
You'd think that these types of folksy turns of phrase might come off as corny or inauthentic in person. However, you somehow you get the feeling that Cerrone, Cowboy hat perched on his head, camouflage hunting jacket on his back, is speaking straight with you.
That, combined with his reckless fighting style also help you believe that, since he's fighting to stack cash, he wants to do it as often as possible from here on out.
"I’ll fight every weekend, hell yeah," he said.
Cerrone doesn't deny that fighting as often as he wants for the UFC would take it's toll on his body. He's got a quick solution for that, though.
"Getting’ banged up ain’t nothing a few shots of whiskey can’t cure," Cerrone explained.
Speaking of drinking, Cerrone has said that an earlier attempt to tone-down his lifestyle contributed to his underperforming in the Octagon. The bull-riding, wake-boarding, mountain climbing, hard-drinking "Cowboy" says that for his fight Saturday against Adriano Martins, he has let himself be who he is.
The switch wasn't just a psychological one, either. Cerrone said he really didn't limit any of his favorite excessive or risky activities leading up to this bout.
"No, I definitely do all those things, 100%," he said with a smirk.
"Everyone was like, ‘Cowboy’ you need to quit doing all this stuff, start taking care of yourself, if you were serious about it, blah blah, blah’. No, I need to go be me."
We posited Guida's theory that Cerrone has a deep-seeded need to constantly have his adrenaline pumping, he grinned again. "Yeah. Definitely," he said.
How does fighting MMA compare to the thrills of bull-riding and cliff-hanging, for Cerrone?
"This is it, man," he said.
"Bull riding is fun but fighting is it."
His cash-money talk taken into consideration, we still suspected that when the Octagon cage door closes on Cerrone, it isn't money that's on his mind. The thrill, it would seem, is from a more primal source - the challenge of beating up another man.
"Is that what it is about MMA," we ask. "That it's another man across from you that you prove you're better than?"
In the midst of a weight-cut, Cerrone had seemed fidgety, distracted and didn't make much eye-contact for most of our conversation. At this point, however, he looked right back, smiled, nodded and said, "exactly."
Saturday night at UFC on Fox 10, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone will have a man in front of him to beat up, with cash on the line. We can't imagine him enjoying much else more than that.