For the first time in a while, Donald Cerrone didn’t sound like a company man.
When asked to reflect upon his value to the UFC after collecting his 17th career triumph in the Octagon over Patrick Cote in Ottawa on Saturday night, “Cowboy” instead sounded eerily similar to a former opponent from Stockton, Calif.
“That all sounds nice, but according to my pay, I don’t mean s--t to the UFC,” Cerrone said at the post-fight press conference. “But we’ll see. We’ll have to talk to [UFC President Dana White] after this to see if we can figure that out.”
Cerrone’s last disclosed payday was $79,000 following a 66-second knockout loss to Rafael dos Anjos in a lightweight title bout at UFC on Fox 17 in December.
But after becoming the first man to dispatch the notoriously durable Cote with strikes, Cerrone appears to be as valuable as ever, whether he’s competing at welterweight or lightweight. The Jackson-Wink MMA standout was in peak form from the start in the UFC Fight Night co-headliner, as he threatened with a rear-naked choke in the opening stanza and floored his opponent three times en route to a stoppage at the 2:35 mark of round three.
With back-to-back wins over Cote and Alex Oliveira under his belt, Cerrone has gone a long way toward putting the disappointment of his lightweight title loss to dos Anjos behind him. Still, Cerrone remains well aware of his biggest perceived weaknesses even while basking in the glow of a successful evening.
“[I’m] trying to figure out why I’m such a slow starter,” he said. “I know people are gonna jump on me early and try to hit my weak-ass liver. I’m trying to figure out how I can offset that.”
Salary issues aside, Cerrone figures to have plenty of options going forward given his success in two weight classes. In typical “Cowboy” fashion, he displayed no preference toward one or the other. In Cerrone’s world, it’s all about fighting where the next payday will arrive the quickest.
“I don’t know. I like 55. I like 70. Either way,” he said. “The fastest trip to the next fight, whether it’s 155 or 170, that’s the way I’m going. I was probably 176, 177 walking into this fight. I’m not disregarding 155 at all, so either way.”