SB Nation Exclusive Interview With WEC's Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone

via cdn2.sbnation.com

WEC lightweight contender Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone speaks with us about his upcoming fight with arch nemesis Jamie Varner, his loss to Benson Henderson, and the recent shakeup in the UFC's lightweight division.

Making up half of one of the best rivalries in MMA right now, Donald Cerrone is just a few short weeks from getting to do something he's been dreaming about for nearly two years: punching Jamie Varner in the face. The two met back in January of 2009, ending in one of the most controversial finishes in recent memory. The pair will face off for the second time at 'WEC 51: Aldo Vs. Gamburyan' Sept. 30th in Broomfield, Colorado.

In the fifth round of an utter war for the WEC lightweight title, Cerrone threw a knee, grazing the head of Varner who was in the process of standing up after being pinned against the cage. Varner was very close to standing, but the knee made just enough contact to be considered an illegal blow. The referee halted the bout for the doctor to check out Varner, who was claiming to have difficulty seeing. Because the strike was accidental, the fight was stopped and left to the judges to decide the winner. The crowd was noticeably upset, watching as Varner walked away with the belt after taking a split decision 49-46.

A war of words has been raging ever since, with both fighters openly slinging mud in public forums. Now all the talk can stop as these two make their final preparations for one of the most angst fueled rematches in MMA history.

 

What does your upcoming fight with Jamie Varner mean to you after almost two years? I know you spoke about how much it helped motivate you in your fights preparing for Benson Henderson.

Yea I mean this fight is two years in the making. This is all about redemption. I can finally get out there and do what I wanna do.

Are you worried about your emotions affecting you in this fight? Are you worried that because of the emotional nature of this fight you'll somehow stray from the gameplan?

I'm hoping my emotions just take over and that's what drives me to take over when I'm tired and sore. I want my emotions to just help me push through.

Are you worried about how he might react in this fight? Let his emotions get the better of him somehow?

I really dont give a shit about anything he has to do. This fight is all about me. It's about me dictating the pace and speed. Where the fight goes has nothing to do with him, so as far as what he's planning on doing? I don't care.

Do you think Varner will try to replicate his performance from the first fight between you two?

Try and take me down and control the pace? It's not going to happen.

He has a draw and a loss since fighting you so he really needs a strong showing and a win here. Does it concern you that he might be content to use his wrestling to hold you down and get a win?

Like I said, nothing he's doing affects anything I'm doing. I don't care. I don't care if he's motivated in the fight and I don't care if he thinks he needs to win or that he can take me down. Nothing he's doing is going to dictate anything I have to do.

How are you going to approach this fight differently from the last time you guys fought? Have you worked on anything in particular or is it just about better executing the same gameplan?

Same thing. Don't blink. Hes coming in to win and I'm coming in to win so don't blink. 

Have you worked on anything since your fight with Benson Henderson? Or do you just chalk it up to getting caught?

Yea, it happens. Every dog has its day. I just chalk everything up to the submission. I got caught. He caught me slipping and he executed and did what he had to do. That's the name of the game, baby.

What are your thoughts on the lightweight shakeup in the UFC?

I still think BJ is definitely up there. Gray Maynard too. I'm not too particular about what's going on in the UFC right now. All I'm focused on is Jamie Varner. I'm not looking ahead or looking past anyone. I think BJ is still the best though. Everyone's got their number. [Frank Edgar] came out and did exactly what he had to do to win. He took BJ down and surprised him, caught him off guard. From there he just kinda took advantage of what he had to do.

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