'Hell no, I’m not bowing down': Cowboy Cerrone denies he will 'take a dive' against Conor McGregor
If McGregor has engaged in something of a hiatus in recent years, Cerrone has been anything but inactive. Since November 2016, McGregor has fought just once - a submission defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov last year - but in the same spell, 'Cowboy' has rolled out an impressive 11 fights.
While some of those results have been mixed, no one can claim more octagon appearances and wins than the American in the history of the UFC and Cerrone says that his competitive streak runs deep and he is prepared to use every ounce of his experience to hand McGregor a second successive loss.Also on rt.com 'Finally, I get my hands on him': Donald Cerrone reacts as Conor McGregor bout confirmed
"Hell no, I’m not bowing down," Cerrone said in an interview with MMA Fighting.
"There’s a bunch of sh*t going around, people keep telling me ‘I heard you’re getting paid to take a dive.’ There wouldn’t be enough money in the world for someone to pay me to take a dive. I could never look myself in the mirror if somebody paid me to take a dive. Sh*t, never happen.
"I’d rather fight for free than take money to f*cking lose. That’s not me. I’m going to fight my ass off like I do every time."
Given the celebrity and yes, notoriety, surrounding Cerrone's upcoming opponent, there was always going to be something of a sweepstakes element to securing a bout with McGregor who remains the biggest paycheck in the sport.
Lightweight contender Justin Gaethje was considered by many to be a more viable opponent for McGregor, especially seeing as he defeated Cerrone in both men's last fight. Regardless of how it appears on paper, Cerrone says that he is more than deserving of this opportunity.
"I'm still No. 4 or 5 or whatever the hell I am. It’s not like I’m getting beat up by bums, somewhere down there getting tumbleweeded in the rankings pool,” Cerrone said. "I don’t know where I’m sitting but I’m still at the top of the list."
And as for the other man in the cage on January 18, Cerrone says he is anticipating a Conor McGregor at the absolute summit of his powers.Also on rt.com McGregor will earn second shot at Khabib if he wins next fight, says UFC chief Dana White
"I expect the best Conor you guys have ever seen. I really do," Cerrone said. "He has so many doubters and questions that he needs to answer. I think he’s training extra hard, he’s coming and I think he’s going to be the best Conor you have ever seen."
One suspects if that prediction is accurate then 'Cowboy' may well have a tough ask ahead of him in what will be the most lucrative fight of his veteran career.