After years of chasing paydays and records without any consideration of the title, the birth of his son made the proprietor of the BMF Ranch recalibrate his way of thinking.
Following his win over Mike Perry at home in Denver, Colorado, Cerrone declared that his time as a welterweight was over, explaining that he was headed back to ’55 with his sights set on capturing championship gold.
“I’m getting old and it’s just time,” he said in January, prior to his fight with surging upstart Alexander Hernandez. “We’re doing so great in the sport — we’re making all these records and I want to be one of the greatest of all-time and to do that, it can’t be ‘He’s one of the greatest of all-time, but he never won a title.’”
He won that fight by second-round technical knockout, finding his range and his rhythm before felling the aggressive youngster with a head kick. Last month, he ventured to Canada and dispatched Iaquinta, dominating the tough-as-nails New Yorker in one of the most impressive all-around efforts of his 13-year, 48-fight career.
And when the phone rang a couple days later, Cerrone answered like he always does, saying “yes” without hesitation to sharing the cage with the Ferguson on Saturday night at UFC 238.
“I said ‘yes’ right away; it took him three or four days of me baiting him to do it and I don’t blame him because I’m a scary dude to fight,” he said regarding the quick turnaround. “He was sitting as the No. 1 contender already, (so I understand him being hesitant). It makes sense for him to be like, ‘F*** this — I’ve already got the spot,’ but here we are.
Not only does Ferguson enter as the consensus top contender in the lightweight division, but he also arrives in “Second City” on an 11-fight winning streak that includes victories over former champions Rafael Dos Anjos and Anthony Pettis and an interim title win over Kevin Lee.