For the first time in his career, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone nearly called the boss and backed out on the day of the fight.
Cerrone's career spans 12 years and 45 bouts, and not once has he withdrawn on the day of the fight, but that nearly happened on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 132 in Singapore, where Cerrone was slated to face Leon Edwards.
"This was the first time in my career that I almost called Dana and said, 'I'm not coming to work today.' I just f---ing looked myself in the mirror and said, man, you're not that guy. Just go," Cerrone said at the post-fight press conference, after losing a five-round decision to Edwards and admitting that he had been sick.
"That has nothing to do with the way I fought. I'm very proud of myself actually for getting in there and fighting. I don't have any remorse or doubt. I don't think I lost any stock."
There are some fighters that might be accused of using the illness as an excuse, but Cerrone didn't try to indicate it had anything to do with his loss, and knowing his demeanor over the years, it isn't really in his character. He's a "no excuses" type of fighter that takes the losses with the same aplomb as the wins.
From how he described his illness, however, Cerrone could be forgiven for a lackluster performance, but it really wasn't. He took the fight to Edwards the best he could, but the judges awarded Edwards a unanimous decision.
"Just sick, throwing up, couldn't get out of bed, just feeling like s--t all morning, all day. Wasn't feeling like showing up to work was what I was feeling," Cerrone said, when asked for details on his illness.
"It was the closest in my whole career to calling the boss and saying, hey, man, I'm not gonna make it. I just rolled over about 5 o'clock and looked in the mirror and said you're not that guy, let's get up and go."
Cerrone got up and went... to the tune of five, hard-fought, bloody rounds with one of the rising stars of the UFC welterweight division.
(Photo courtesy of UFC)