Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, May 31, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Meet Donald Cerrone
- When: Saturday, Noon-1 p.m.
- Where: Chapman Dodge (3175 E. Sahara)
- Cost: Free
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Less than a week after turning K.J. Noons’ face into a bloody mess at UFC 160, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was back to inflicting damage on fellow fighters.
The lightweight contender partook in one of his other favorite activities — wakeboarding — on Lake Mead on Wednesday afternoon, bringing fellow UFC 160 winner Mike Pyle along for the excursion.
“(Pyle) was real hesitant to get into the water, and we finally put him on the board, then we couldn’t get him off,” Cerrone said. “He was having the time of his life. He woke up this morning and was like, ‘I feel so sore. I feel like I got in a train wreck.’”
Cerrone laughed and confirmed that, indeed, muscle fatigue is as much a part of water sports as it is in combat sports. It’s been all fun and relaxation for Cowboy in the six days since he defeated Noons by unanimous decision on last Saturday’s pay-per-view card.
Cerrone stayed in Las Vegas for an extra week along with his girlfriend to celebrate a victory that saw him get back on track. He’s in town through Saturday, when he’ll host an autograph session and meet with fans at Noon at Chapman Dodge, 3175 E. Sahara.
After that, it’s back to Albuquerque to train. As far as Cerrone is concerned, he’s got his next fight lined up and hopes to sign a bout agreement within the next two weeks.
Josh Thomson expressed a desire to fight Cerrone, which he quickly reciprocated.
“It’s the name of the game,” Cerrone said. “He needs to beat me to get to where he wants to go. I need to beat him to get to where I want to go.”
For perhaps the first time since joining the UFC, Cerrone has a singular goal in mind. He’s no longer trying to fight every couple of months in relentless pursuit of accumulating the most bonus money possible.
He’s now focused on landing a title shot in the 155-pound division, which he believes will happen if he defeats Thomson.
“I’ve gotten stronger and realized where I want to be and why I’m here, why I’m in the UFC,” Cerrone said. “I’m hitting that goal. If I beat Josh Thomson, I’m calling out that belt and I’m going to get it. I feel now is the time.”
Cerrone felt like he had the best preparation of his career for Noons, in large part because of his work with sports psychiatrist Brian Kane. Cerrone said Kane helped him get over mental issues that had plagued him before losses to Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz.
On the day of UFC 160, Cerrone met Kane at 10 a.m. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. They went through Cerrone’s whole pre-fight routine, including walking from the locker room to the octagon, three times.
“It really helped,” Cerrone said. “I came out smiling. I felt like I had already been there. I did a lot of mental imagery to see the fight before it already happened. It helped immensely.”
Cerrone originally met Kane four years ago, through welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, and used his services before a submission victory over Ed Ratcliff at WEC 45 at the Palms. Cowboy wishes he would have kept Kane throughout his next 10 fights and assures he'll be around going forward.
Cerrone believes Kane is leading him into the best stretch of his career by helping with every little issue thrown in his way.
“For instance, yesterday, I was terrible wakeboarding,” Cerrone said. “It was probably the worst day of wakeboarding I’ve had in a while. That’s the same thing that happens in training, the same thing that happens in fighting. What I took away from him the most is how to deal with those days when things aren’t going the way you want. When I take a shower, I just wash all that down the drain. I let it all go and move on.”