Cerrone picks up Muay Thai title
EDWARDS – Donald Cerrone can fight, and he’s got the hardware and record to prove it.Last Saturday in Miami, Cerrone extended his undefeated record to 25-0, and picked up a shiny championship belt. Cerrone used a TKO in the third round of his Muay Thai boxing bout with Travis Crawford to win the Dominion Warrior Light Heavyweight World Championship and the S-1 United States Championship.The title is another great step for 23-year-old Cerrone, who also competes in mixed martial arts fighting events. While Cerrone has only been in organized fighting for three years, he did get in plenty of fights prior to that, and also had another, less impressive record.”I was a loose cannon. I got in street fights and bar fights. I had too many assault charges, and I though, ‘I can’t be doing this anymore,'” Cerrone said. “One day my buddy came up to me and said, ‘Hey I’m kickboxing, you should come down and try it.’ I took a fight two weeks later.”Now, Cerrone fights for a living.”It’s my job,” said Cerrone, who had a stint as a bullrider during high school. “A lot of people would love to be able to say they fight for a living. Fighting is what I love doing.”As Cerrone’s fighting career took off, his life took turns for the better, and he had to make some choices.”I was looking to go to medical school to be a doctor,” Cerrone said. “That’s what I started out to do. My grandmother and grandfather and mother are doctors, and that was the path they were forcing me down, but fighting is the path I was meant to go.”
Other than the purple bruise beneath Cerrone’s left eye and his boxer’s physique, it’s hard to believe that the soft-spoken, intelligent man is a world champion Muay Thai boxer.”What makes him special, and the reason I let him live with me, is that he’s very smart,” said Jason Field, who along with Carlos Carvalho, trains Cerrone at the Inyodo Martial Arts Studio in Edwards. “He’s able to apply strategy. He goes into a fight with a game plan, but not everybody is able to maintain it. He’s got a great, disciplined mind.”Field is equally impressed with Cerrone’s transition in fighting.”He began as a fighter and we’re turning him into a professional athlete,” Field said. Cerrone is almost always training. After his fights, Cerrone recovers for a bit, then jumps right back into his intense regimen that requires his full devotion.”You’re putting in six to eight hours of day of training, whether is be running, weight lifting, swimming, sitting in a sauna, dieting. I mean, even food, I’ve gotta watch my portions. I love to eat cake and ice cream, but you know,” Cerrone said, forgoing a piece of cake Saturday during a little kid’s birthday party at the Inyodo Gym.
In addition to Field and Carvalho, there are a group of others who help Cerrone, including a physical therapist, a personal trainer and a nutritionist.”When a guy is getting Cerrone, he’s not just getting Cerrone, he’s getting six professionals,” Carvalho said.One of the reasons Cerrone came to the area, in addition to the obvious benefits of training at high altitude, was the personal attention he can get at the Inyodo Martial Arts Gym.”It’s private training,” Carvalho said. “If you go into a gym in the city, there’s 20 guys (training), and five guys training for a fight on the same card.”Along with the personal attention also comes fewer distractions.”I live with Jason … so everything is lined up,” Cerrone said. “From (the house) to the gym is all I know. I don’t have a driver’s license, so I just can’t get up and go somewhere, so I’m stuck. But it’s good. I’m totally focused. When I’m in Denver, my friends are always calling me to go out drinking with them.”And the gym has also benefited from Cerrone’s presence and success.”When you have an athlete like Donny training at your gym, it just makes everything good,” Field said. “Now we have fighters calling and coming by because they want to train with him.”
While Cerrone’s latest fight showcased his standup fighting skills, it didn’t allow him to show off the rest of his arsenal. When Cerrone began training at Inyodo seven months ago, Carvalho introduced him to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and immediately, Cerrone’s grappling skills blossomed. And much to Cerrone’s surprise and delight, he finished many of his fights by earning submissions. “When I first started, I was like, ‘What’s up with Jiu-Jitsu?'” Cerrone said. “Then they offered me some money (to fight), and I said, ‘Yea, I’m just going to pound (my opponent), and there will be no submissions.’ But now, every Jiu-Jitsu fight I’ve had, I’ve won by submission.””It’s been fun to grow him game and to see him become a well-rounded fighter,” Field said.
Cerrone is scheduled to fight in Castle Rock on Sept. 9. Then, in December, Cerrone will head to Thailand for the “Super Fight'” at the S-1 World Championships during the King’s Birthday celebration, an invitation that comes with his win in Miami.”Thailand is going to be war,” Cerrone said, noting the high level of international competition he’s expecting.Fighting in front of tens of thousands of fans in Thailand will be Cerrone’s biggest fight yet, but Field knows there’s more to come.”It’s easy to see it as the big one,” Field said. “In the immediate future it is, but we are looking at it in the big picture. We can take worst case scenario, a loss, and it would only be a bump in the road, a learning experience.”Cerrone, who has already met some of his personal goals, has a few more he’s still working on.”I want to be a K-1 World Champion – that’s my kickboxing goal. (Making it to the) Ultimate Fighting Championships or Pride Fighting Championship would my mixed martial arts goal,” Cerrone said. “And I want to get to 30-0 before I lose.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado