Broadly, mixed martial arts fighters can be lumped into one of three groups.
First are those who form the meticulous group, athletes who need great structure and require at least two months to prepare for a match. Often, these fighters take an almost scientific approach to preparations. Everything must be calibrated just so, and that takes time and careful planning.
Second are fighters in the ready group, who only take short breaks after their fights and can be available to go in just five or six weeks.
Then there is the third group whose membership is exactly one: Donald Cerrone, whose thirst for the competition – and the toys that the paychecks that go with it can buy – knows no boundaries.
On Tuesday, less than 72 hours after he defeated Myles Jury in the co-main event of UFC 182, Cerrone was on a conference call talking about his decision to fight Benson Henderson.
In 12 days.
When Eddie Alvarez dropped out of the match against Henderson in Boston because he's been suffering from the flu and couldn't train, Cerrone didn't hesitate to say yes.
And so, in a few days, he'll crank up his RV and make the 32-hour trek in the dead of winter from Albuquerque, N.M., to Boston, where he'll face Henderson in the co-main event of a UFC Fight Night at TD Garden.
Cerrone likes to buy what he calls toys – the RV, jet skis, boats, pickup trucks and the like – after each fight. If he keeps competing every two weeks, the guy might decide to try to buy a private jet.
He's far from the best fighter in the world, but his eagerness for the battle is why Cerrone is one of the most compelling figures not just in the UFC but in all of sports.
It's hard to take your eyes off him. He loves to fight so much that he's willing to put his body through unimaginable hardships in order to do it.
"It's probably damaging [to my body to fight again so quickly], for sure, but so is cocaine and alcohol, and I imagine it's a little less," Cerrone said.
He almost sneers at the thought of meticulously preparing for a bout. He's a thrill seeker who climbs mountains and loves to wakeboard and, yes, fly a plane on the week of a fight.
Even by Cerrone's nutty standards, though, this 15-day turnaround is remarkable. Not surprisingly, though, it's not the quickest back-to-back fights of his career.
He debuted as a professional mixed martial artist on Feb. 11, 2006, when he won a fight at Ring of Fire 21 by triangle choke in just one minute, 42 seconds. Then, only 13 days later, he won by second-round triangle at an American Championship Fighting card in Denver.
But in 2006, it was a vastly different level of competition, not to mention a much shorter fight. He went three rounds against the previously unbeaten Jury at UFC 182, and will turnaround to fight the former UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion in 15 days.
Cerrone's victory over Jury was his sixth in a row and boosted him to third in the UFC's lightweight rankings. Champion Anthony Pettis will face No. 1 contender Rafael dos Anjos on March 15 at UFC 185 in Dallas.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is recovering from an injury and hasn't fought in nearly nine months – a lifetime by Cerrone's standards – is ranked second.
Clearly, Cerrone isn't far away from a title shot. Some UFC fighters opt to sit on their ranking to wait for the championship bout. Cerrone, though, couldn't imagine such a scenario.
His eagerness to fight is so great that he's agreed to take on the fifth-ranked lightweight in the world, the man who already has beaten him twice, with virtually no training camp.
"Time to prepare?" Cerrone incredulously asks a questioner. "[Expletive], I don't have time to prepare a cake. What are you talking about, prepare? I'm just going in there to fight. I got just enough time to cut weight and get to Boston. There'll be no game plan. It's just fight. That's all there is to do."
Cerrone's developed a new habit recently. After each fight ends, he doesn't leave the arena until he's had a conversation with UFC president Dana White about his next bout.
He was begging White at the post-fight UFC 182 news conference for another quick fight.
White knew it probably wasn't in Cerrone's best interest to turn around so quickly.
There are the aches and pains and bumps and bruises that come with a training camp and a 15-minute fight in the UFC.
Additionally, fighters usually need time to mentally re-charge their batteries. Cerrone admitted on Tuesday's conference call that the fight game is mostly mental, and anyone who never gets away from his or her work for at least a short time tends to get burned out.
Cerrone, though, is not everyone else. He always suspected he'd be standing across the cage from Henderson once again, and now, he gets the opportunity.
What could be better?
"I'm pumped. I'm excited," he said of the opportunity to not only return so quickly but to get another shot at Henderson. "It's been a long time coming. This fight, whether people talked about it or not, in my mind, I knew we'd cross paths again. I thought it was going to be for the belt, but here it is on 10 days' notice.
"That's even better. No time to think. No time to worry. Just go out there and let my reactions take over and fight. … You'll see the new Cowboy in there Sunday night. The mental, crazy [expletive] loon."
He's MMA's crazy loon, for sure, and fans love him for it.
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