Donald Cerrone eyes Eddie Alvarez, lightweight title after UFC 202

Donald Cerrone squares off with Rick Story at UFC 202 this weekend. Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Donald Cerrone is fine with being overshadowed by the Nate Diaz-Conor McGregor rematch hoopla leading up to UFC 202.

"That's a big fight, man, so I don't give a s---. I'll fight on Fight Pass; it's all the same to me," Cerrone told ESPN.com. "Maybe they'll be surprised: Oh, s---, Cowboy's fighting, too. Hell yeah, freebie."

That doesn't mean the Cerrone (30-7, NC) isn't taking his Saturday night matchup with Rick Story (19-8) seriously. It just means the man who drove a convoy from New Mexico to an RV park 3 miles from the MGM Grand will have more time enjoying being "Cowboy." The only water Cerrone is concerned about right now doesn't come from a bottle thrown at a news conference.

"It'll let me go play at the f---ing lake. I don't have to do as much media. No problem for me," Cerrone said. "I'm going in there [to] kick ass, take names and just go have fun."

Straight from the BMF Ranch and complete with a boat and several motorcycles, Cerrone's three-person crew (as well as two dogs) brought all they need to have a good time in Vegas. It'll be an extension to his summer, filled with "a lot of playing, a lot of riding Harleys, just playing on the water."

It'll be the third bout at 170 pounds this year for Cerrone, who closed 2015 with a 66-second TKO loss to Rafael dos Anjos in a December fight for the UFC lightweight title. The defeat snapped an eight-fight win streak that had several memorable accomplishments, such as beating Myles Jury and Benson Henderson in a span of 15 days.

Cerrone also topped current 155-pound champion Eddie Alvarez by unanimous decision, something that has piqued Cowboy's future interests.

"After I beat Story, I'm going to go back down [in] weight, 155, and have a little meeting with Eddie Alvarez. That's my plan," Cerrone said. "[Fighting at] 170 is just something I'm doing in the meantime. I just take the fights and do what love."

It's not out of the realm of possibility that with a win Saturday night, Cerrone's name could be in the conversation for a title shot. The 33-year-old is ranked fifth in ESPN.com's lightweight rankings, and is the only man the beat Alvarez in the UFC. The second- and fourth-ranked fighters, dos Anjos (25-8) and Tony Ferguson (20-3), will fight each other on Nov. 5.

No. 3 Khabib Nurmagomedov (23-0) is currently without a bout, and has taken to social media recently to call out the champion and campaign for the title shot.

Alvarez, meanwhile, has publicly stated that he'd like to face the winner of UFC 202's main event between Diaz and McGregor.

After each of his bouts, Cerrone wants the date of his next fight as soon as possible, even without a set opponent being attached. The same holds true for this Saturday, just with a specific location and wanting 12 pounds of gold to be put on the line.

"I'm going to do the same thing after this one. I'm trying to get on the November New York card. That's the one I really want," Cerrone said.

Cerrone's two-fight stint at 170 pounds has been successful, starting with a first-round submission victory over Alex Oliveira in February. He then dominated Patrick Cote en route to a third-round TKO less than two months ago. According to FightMetric, "Cowboy" knocked down Cote three times and landed 61 percent of his significant strikes. What the stats don't show is the calm demeanor displayed throughout the fight.

Looking back, Cerrone called it "a lucky night" and "business as usual."

Looking ahead to Saturday night, Cerrone acknowledged the challenge involved with battling heavier fighters. Story has been in the UFC's welterweight division since 2009 and is currently on three-fight win streak.

Last time out in May, "The Horror" dispatched Tarec Saffiedine via unanimous decision. Before that, he handed Gunnar Nelson his first pro loss, outlanding him 168-53 in significant strikes, according the FightMetric. All of this has allowed Story to move his way up to ninth in the UFC's rankings.

"You're not just top-10 UFC because you suck. The guy's good. He's going to be big and strong. The guys at this weight class are a whole new beast," Cerrone said. "He's brawler. He knows how to fight. He's going to try to wrestle me once we get in the cage. He'll use his muscles. Hopefully I can outpoint him and outwrestle his ass."

Cerrone brings a 3-inch height advantage and 2-inch reach advantage to the Octagon against Story. But that's not why Cowboy thinks he'll win.

"Why will I get my hand raised?" Cerrone said. "Because I'm just a better fighter than he is."