Among the impressive performances and title defenses at UFC 276, one of the most significant headlines was the retirement of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
The longtime UFC veteran elected to leave his gloves and hat in the Octagon following his submission loss to Jim Miller. The loss was technically his second in a row, but if a 2020 bout with Niko Price hadn’t been changed to a No Contest the 39-year-old would have lost his last seven bouts.
Speaking at the UFC 276 post-fight press conference, “Cowboy” acknowledged one regret from an MMA career that began in 2006.
“The only regret I could say I have is that I didn’t do this sooner,” Cerrone said.
He retires tied with Andrei Arlovski for the second-most fights and second-most wins in UFC history. Jim Miller was already number one in UFC fights, but he also moved into the top spot in wins following his victory over Cerrone.
Cowboy Cerrone: “I Was Doing It For All The Wrong Reasons”
The 39-year-old has made his family a priority in the latter stages of his career, and he was asked if having their support made the decision to retire any easier.
“Oh, yeah, man. And my wife, she played soccer in college, and a lot of things that kept me going in the last (fights), she’s like, ‘I wish I could go back and just play one more game. You have the chance to do one more fight. Go experience it and love it.’”
In his prime, “Cowboy” was known as the most active fighter on the UFC roster and prided himself on fighting multiple times every year. Prior to losing to Tony Ferguson at UFC 238, he was on a three-fight win streak with two finishes.
“I was trying to love it, and I was trying to find it and trying to experience it. And I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I was doing it for everybody else and not myself. But retiring tonight, that was for me, and I fuckin’ feel good about it.”
For a man that has been fighting as long as he has, it’s natural to wonder what his first move will be in retirement. When asked, Cerrone provided a classic “Cowboy” response.
“I’m gonna go home and crack me a nice, cold Budweiser and fuckin’ just chug it all the way down and be like, ‘Yup. Good career, Cowboy.’”
What’s your reaction to “Cowboy” saying he wishes he’d retired sooner?