Due to the overwhelming interest in Saturday night’s main event, welterweight’s Donald Cerrone and Rick Story have almost flown under the radar into Las Vegas for UFC 202 – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect fireworks.
‘Cowboy’ has, as always, been true to himself in the build up to the fight. After arriving in Nevada in his pimped out RV, he’s been water skiing on Lake Mead and cruising The Strip on a motorcycle this week as he prepares for his third fight at 170lb. The former lightweight title contender looks reborn at the heavier weight class and knows a big performance against top 10 ranked Story will launch him closer to a welterweight title shot.
Not that a UFC championship belt is the main motivator for Cerrone, however. With Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz set to pocket career-best earnings in tomorrow night’s non-title main event, Cowboy is shrewd enough to realize that there’s far more on offer inside the Octagon these days than just 12lb of gold-plated title belt.
“The UFC is a multi-billion dollar company, they need to keep it strong. Why wouldn’t people want the money fights that come with that? I’m okay with it,” Cerrone says.
“I live every day to its fullest, I enjoy life. A lot of these guys are probably sitting in their rooms all week thinking about the fight, but that’s not me. I’m fortunate to have a job that lets me have fun while I make money. If that means taking the money fight instead of the title fight, that’s what it means.”
Story too isn’t interested in talking about title belts, despite the fact he’s on his most consistent winning run in the UFC since 2010-2011. After gunning down fellow top contenders Gunnar Nelson and Tarec Saffiedine, he admits he’s excited to share the Octagon with Cerrone tomorrow night.
And after hooking up with East coast powerhouse gym Blackzilians for this camp, Story is promising the biggest performance of his 19-8 career tomorrow night.
“I feel really confident and I’m excited for the opportunity to face a guy like ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. It’s been a long road to get here,” says Story, who finally had surgery to repair a neck injury from High School last year. “I came into this sport just fighting to make ends meet and trying to learn as much as possible. It’s been a little different lately, I’ve started training with the Blackzilians and they’re a really cohesive unit with a bunch of high level talent.
“The cool thing is that I was learning stuff from every single person in the room – not just coaches. I would go in there and anytime I got beat in sparring or grappling, the person would school me up on it and you can really grow your bag of tricks that way. I think I’m going to be the spoiler in this fight. I never go into a fight unprepared and I think I’m going to get the win.”
* For much more from Donald Cerrone pick up the September issue of Fighters Only magazine – available in all good newsstands now!