While his preference to remain as active as possible is well known, Donald Cerrone is far from picky when it comes to potential opponents.
Nothing changed following UFC Fight Night Cerrone vs. Miller, where the Jackson-Wink MMA product authored a second-round head kick knockout of Jim Miller in the evening’s main event at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., on Wednesday night.
The spectacular finish followed a typically slow start for Cerrone, who absorbed some punches before finding his range with kicks to the body late in the opening stanza.
“I think the body work started wearing on him a little bit. I started getting his timing. It’s kind of why I’m a slow starter – I like to figure out people’s movement and their timing,” Cerrone said. “It’s just the way I fight. I got his rhythm and it was time to hit the switch and go.”
With the win, Cerrone became the first person to finish Miller via strikes in 30 professional fights. The Colorado native has been close to a lightweight title shot before, but has come up short in title eliminator bouts against Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis. While he appears to be nearing contention again, the path he travels to get there doesn’t seem to be of great importance.
Earlier in the week, Cerrone targeted the streaking Khabib Nurmagomedov as a future dance partner. The Dagestani is unbeaten in 22 professional fights – including six in the UFC – and, according to UFC President Dana White, seems to have a difficult time finding opponents.
On Wednesday night, “Cowboy” was still fine with the possibility of facing Nurmagomedov – or anyone else, for that matter.
“I’ll fight anybody,” Cerrone said in an interview on Fox Sports 1. “All the UFC has to do is call me, and I’ll be there. Whether it’s 170 [pounds], 155 – I’ll fight whoever.”
Not everyone appreciates Cerrone’s whoever-whenever-wherever mentality. Diaz, who defeated the WEC veteran at UFC 141, took a thinly veiled shot at his former foe on Twitter this past week, accusing him of attempting to curry favor with UFC brass.
White quickly fired back at Diaz, who has been on the sidelines since defeating Gray Maynard in November.
Nate can do whatever he wants to do. Nate can sit out and not suck any UFC whatever, for as long as he wants to. Who cares, he's a grown man, White told UFC.com on Tuesday. Sit out for as long as you want; sit out the rest of your career. It's your decision. But to start making fun of guys who actually like to fight, and guys who go out there and put on unbelievable fights and people love to see him? [Cowboy] steps up and does what he does. People love Cowboy Cerrone.
Nate wants to talk about making money, but there's only one way to make money, and that's fighting.
No one is more aware of that fact than Cerrone, who has professed a desire to fight six times in 2014. Whether he accomplishes that feat remains to be seen, but the popular lightweight would prefer a swift return to the cage. If he gets Nurmagomedov or even Diaz, great. If someone else is willing to step up, that’s fine too.
“The sooner, the better,” Cerrone said. “I will literally fight anybody: Nate, Khabib, anybody.”