Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone believes this is the year he finally makes his dream of becoming UFC champion a reality.

Cerrone has had a crack at UFC gold once before and failed in devastating fashion. He got a shot at Rafael dos Anjos’ 155lb championship back in December 2015. But it ended with a one-sided beatdown as he lost via first round TKO, lasting only 66 seconds against the now dethroned Brazilian.

But he bounced back in style in 2016. After moving to welterweight, Cerrone has strung together some of the best performances of his career, notching up four straight wins against Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote, Rick Story and Matt Brown.

This weekend he takes on Jorge Masvidal in the UFC on Fox 23 co-main event. Speaking on the UFC Road to the Octagon special to promote the event, Cowboy is adamant a win over Masvidal will propel him into title contention.

“I’m going to go whip Masvidal’s ass, call out one of these top contenders or call out (170lb champion Tyron) Woodley, and say, ‘Let’s dance, baby… I’m going to go get this belt in 2017. I’m coming. It’s mine. We’re just getting warmed up.”

Cerrone admits he wasn’t necessarily thinking of getting to the title in the past, but that’s all changed now as he enters his 11th year as a prizefighter – 10 of them under the WEC / UFC banner.

“The title probably means more to my team than it does to me,” Cerrone said. “I used to think, ‘I’m here to fight.’ I didn’t have the same mentality that I do now. I feel a little more mature in the game, a little different.”

And if he needed any extra motivation, then fighting in his hometown of Denver, Colorado has him all fired up. “I’m a winner, that’s what I like to do. But at home in front of everybody? I ain’t losing. No way, no how. I’m coming hard. I can’t wait.”


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