Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is nobody’s sacrificial lamb no matter how much he’s getting paid.
Just weeks ahead of his upcoming fight against Conor McGregor at UFC 246, Cerrone has started to hear rumors that he’s being offered a substantial payday to lay down for the former two-division champion in his first action since October 2018.
As much as Cerrone might enjoy a few extra zeroes being tacked onto his paycheck, the 36-year-old veteran slammed those rumors when speaking to MMA Fighting this week.
“Hell no, I’m not bowing down!” Cerrone said. “There’s a bunch of s--t going around, people keep telling me ‘I heard you’re getting paid to take a dive.’ There wouldn’t be enough money in the world for someone to pay me to take a dive.
“I could never look myself in the mirror if somebody paid me to take a dive. S--t, never happen.”
The narrative going into the UFC 246 main event is that McGregor is being set up for a busy 2020 that starts by taking out Cowboy before he then moves onto potential fights against Jorge Masvidal and reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
While those matchups might interest McGregor, Cerrone can say with absolute certainty that he’s not being paid off in order to hand the Irish superstar his first win in the UFC since 2016.
“I’d rather fight for free than take money to f--king lose,” Cerrone countered. “That’s not me. I’m going to fight my ass off like I do every time.”
Cerrone definitely expects a tough night ahead when he steps into the Octagon on Jan. 18 because he knows McGregor has a lot of pressure on him to perform after so much time off as well as a lopsided defeat in his last fight against Nurmagomedov.
He knows McGregor has a lot to prove, which is why Cerrone promises to give him everything he can handle when they finally meet at UFC 246.
“I expect the best Conor you guys have ever seen. I really do,” Cerrone said. “He has so many doubters and questions that he needs to answer. I think he’s training extra hard, he’s coming and I think he’s going to be the best Conor you have ever seen.”