Fighting has been a part of Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone's entire adult life. At 35 years of age, he doesn't plan on slowing down any time soon.
Despite his loss to the much younger Leon Edwards at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 132 in Singapore, Cerrone loves what he does more than ever and wants to keep fighting as long as the UFC and its fans will have him.
"I love my job more than anything you guys could ever imagine. I love getting in there and fighting. Winning and losing is just part of this game. Unfortunately, it sucks, I only got half my check, but I had fun," Cerrone said after losing to Edwards, relishing what may be a new role for him in his career.
"I hope (Edwards) takes off and does really well in this sport, I really do. I'm getting old in this sport and I love every minute of it. Maybe the new kids are coming in, maybe they're not. There sure are tough guys out there, and there's not enough people like me that give those guys a chance."
Had Cerrone beat Edwards in Singapore, he would have taken sole position of the UFC record for most victories. He is currently tied with Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping for that record at 20 wins apiece. Though it would have been a tremendous accolade, Cerrone brushed off the loss with his usual aplomb.
"I have so many fights left in me. If tonight was my last fight, I'd be upset, but I'm gonna go until the UFC says, Cowboy, enough bro," he said, before adding that he wants at least two or three more fights in 2018. He's now fought twice this year.
Cerrone has been fighting mixed martial arts professionally since 2006. In his 12 years in the sport, he's amassed 33 wins, 11 losses, and 1 no contest. Prior to that, he had already fought nearly 30 times in kickboxing.
In short, he's been around. When Cerrone made the moved to MMA, fighters were still forging their styles based off of one particular skill set that they were good at; a fighter generally came from a striking, submission, or wrestling background. These days, fighters are being bred as mixed martial artists, fluent in all three general areas from the beginning.
Cerrone likes that adaptation and wants to keep testing himself against the next generation of fighters.
"I love where the sport is going. I'm gonna stay here and keep fighting until they tell me I can't anymore," he continued. "This old dog has still got a lot in me. I stood there five rounds and gave it hell, and with a smile on my face."
Saying that he'll stop when the UFC shuts him down, Cerrone doesn't foresee that happening any time soon.
"At least five more years, literally, until the UFC says no more."
With Bisping retired and St-Pierre taking things rather slow as the curtain begins to close on his career, Cerrone could potentially take the UFC wins record to rather lofty heights.