In a career filled with stunning finishes, Donald Cerrone expects to add another one to his resume when he squares off against his former teammate.
Cerrone meets Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night on May 8 in what Sanchez says is his retirement fight. Sanchez specifically asked for Cerrone, and “Cowboy” was happy to oblige.
In an interview on his YouTube channel, Cerrone (36-15-1 MMA, 23-12-1 UFC) discussed how the matchup with Sanchez came to fruition and the history he shares with his former Jackson Wink MMA teammate.
“Everyone was booked up,” Cerrone said. “All the fights were booked. Yeah, ’55 is what I wanted to do, then Diego Sanchez I guess went and showed up to the UFC and begged and pleaded with them to make me his retirement fight. So they called me and they asked me. I said, ‘Sure.’
“So with this fight, yeah, it is at ’70, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get big. I’m going to treat it like a ’55 fight. I’m going to try and walk in there at ’70 or 168 – try and be on weight, fight at ’70, and just be ready for moving my body down to 155. That’s the plan.”
“Cowboy” recalled when Sanchez took issue with his departure from Jackson Wink MMA. Prior to facing Mike Perry in November 2018, Cerrone blasted his old gym, claiming that it has gone downhill since Greg Jackson started running the “puppy mill” on his own and accused Mike Winkeljohn of pushing him out of the gym when he chose to train Perry.
Sanchez (30-13 MMA, 19-13 UFC) stood up for Jackson Wink, claiming Cerrone was selfish and never offered a helping hand to any of his teammates. He also said that he would fight him with no hesitation if he got the chance.
However, it didn’t take long for Sanchez to follow suit. He departed Jackson Wink himself less than a year later. He cited the coaches’ lack of attentiveness and care as the prominent reason and claimed he was no longer learning or growing.
Calling him out on his irony, the UFC’s all-time leader in wins and finishes warned Sanchez of what’s to come when they lock horns in three months.
“He says it’s two legends going at it,” Cerrone said. “I don’t think so. He talked a lot of (expletive) when I left Jackson’s, and now he did the same thing and left. It’s funny. I was just doing what I had to do – built my own gym, trained my own people, started making this mold, which I think was the right move to do in my career, and he had a lot to say about it. He said he wanted to fight me, so here’s his chance. Be careful what you wish for. So yeah, this should be a fun highlight reel fight for me.
“I’m not overlooking the kid by no means. There’s areas where he could be dangerous, and if I was fighting old Diego 10 ago, yeah, he was tough – hard pace. I used to train with the guy, I know. We’re now fighting May 8. I signed the deal and it’s happening, so should be fun. He wants this to be his ride into the sunset, and I have no problem giving it to him.”
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