‘Scared to death’ feeling fuels Donald Cerrone’s fighting

 August 27, 2013

For an adrenaline junkie who gets his thrills from pushing life to the extreme, it’s Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone’s job that scares him the most.

“I don’t even know what the feeling is, but that’s the feeling I chase,” the UFC lightweight mixed martial artist said. “And that’s why I chase the adrenaline all the time — because I enjoy that feeling of being scared to death, and fighting, to me, is one of the scariest things you can do.”

He does it often. Cerrone’s bout against Rafael Dos Anjos on Wednesday at UFC Fight Night 27 will be his 10th in the past three years. That’s the most by any fighter who joined the UFC when it absorbed the lesser-known WEC at the end of 2010.

He does it well, too. Cerrone (20-5, 7-2 UFC) began his UFC career with four straight wins in 2011. In his most recent fight, Cerrone won a unanimous decision over KJ Noons at UFC 160. That was three months ago, and if Cerrone has his way, he’ll fight again this October or November. Cerrone is the No. 6 ranked lightweight in the UFC, while dos Anjos (19-6, 8-4) is ranked No. 10.

The fighting funds his lifestyle, which includes owning a bull he named “Don’t Tell Dana” as part of PBR’s Back Seat Buckers tour. The name is a reference to UFC president Dana White, who hasn’t always been fond of all of Cerrone’s outside-the-octagon endeavors.

Cerrone is facing a third-degree assault charge stemming from an alleged June 29 “boating rage” incident in Colorado. Cerrone declined to comment on the pending legal matter. Cerrone said he’s learned to focus only on the things he can control, a lesson learned from working with sports psychologist Brian Cain.

Owning a bull in a celebrity rodeo tour is one of the tamer things Cerrone does, of course. There are the horses and the motorcycles, the boats and the ATVs.

“When they drop that curtain and those lights are in your face and all the screaming people with their hands out and you’re jogging down the runway getting greased up and getting in and Bruce Buffer’s announcing your name and ‘It’s Time’ and ‘Here we go’ and — ding! — you’re ready, you’re ready and you’re live,” Cerrone said. “All of a sudden, it’s real, and it’s there and it’s crazy.”