Coming off TKO loss, Cerrone says 'Dana White put me in timeout'

Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (32-8) is scheduled to fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 213 on July 8 in Las Vegas after an unusually long layoff for Cerrone. Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Six months is not considered a long layoff in mixed martial arts -- unless you're talking about Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.

Cerrone (32-8) is scheduled to fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 213 on July 8 in Las Vegas. It's one of the most anticipated fights of the summer, and it will be Cerrone's first appearance since his TKO loss to Jorge Masvidal in January.

Considering that Cerrone seemingly fights every month (he has the most combined appearances in UFC and WEC history), this layoff already seems long. And Cerrone says it wasn't his call.

"I would have fought sooner, but [UFC president Dana White] put me in timeout for a while," Cerrone told ESPN's Five Rounds podcast.

"After the [Masvidal loss], he said, 'You're in timeout.' I asked if I could call him for a fight and he said, 'No.' I said, 'Come on. ' He said, 'No.'"

Although Cerrone says it wasn't his decision, taking a little time off was probably a good move. He's coming off an extremely busy fight schedule, as usual.

The 34-year-old was supposed to fight Kelvin Gastelum in November, but the day before the bout, Gastelum failed to make weight and the fight was called off. That sent Cerrone immediately back to training camp for a tough fight against Matt Brown in December, which he won via TKO.

Straight out of that win, Cerrone prepared to face Masvidal the following month in Cerrone's native Colorado. In the fight, Cerrone was dropped by a hard right hand at the end of the first round and was saved by the bell. Masvidal finished Cerrone quickly in the second round, which Cerrone remembers nothing about.

"Getting a win at home would have been awesome, but sometimes you've got to take an ass-whupping, I guess," Cerrone said.

"When the doctor tried to look at me and make sure I was OK -- told me to take three steps forward or he'd stop the fight -- I don't remember any of that s---. So, yeah. It is what it is."

The loss snapped a four-fight win streak for Cerrone at welterweight. Later that night, White said he "hates" when Cerrone fights so frequently, placing his win streak at risk. To which Cerrone replied, "F--- it."

"There's no thrill like a fight in the world," Cerrone said. "It's the scariest roller-coaster ride of emotions, excitement and fun you can have. And I make a s---load of money doing it, so I get to go on a spending spree afterwards."

Cerrone doesn't seem to think the loss has dropped him too far in the welterweight title picture. Defending champion Tyron Woodley is eyeing a potential title defense this summer, perhaps against the winner of next weekend's fight between Demian Maia and Masvidal.

Lawler is a former champion, and his fight with Cerrone will generate plenty of buzz. Could Cerrone get a title shot with a win on July 8?

"I think I'm one of the only fighters in the world to get his ass whupped and get a No. 1 contender fight, right?" Cerrone laughed. "We'll see."