The UFC president was offering him another fight — stepping in for the injured Eddie Alvarez against former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in the co-main event of a Jan. 18 televised card in Boston.
Cerrone, who thrives on a busy schedule, said yes — even if White seemed less than happy about seeing his workhorse return to the cage just 15 days after going three rounds.
"I don't really want you to take this fight but I've got an opportunity for you," Cerrone recalled White saying.
"Dana's like 'I think you should take some time off but I'm not telling you to take time off.' He said 'I'm just talking to you as a friend.' I was like 'All right, I'll take the fight.'"
So the 31-year-old lightweight with a penchant for Budweiser and cowboy hats will be soon getting back in the RV for the 32-hour drive to Boston from Albuquerque.
Irish star featherweight Conor (The Notorious) McGregor, ranked fifth among 145-pound contenders, faces No. 10 Dennis Siver of Germany in the main event at TD Garden.
Cerrone (26-6 with one no contest) moved up to No. 3 in the lightweight rankings after his dominating decision over eighth-ranked Jury.
The Boston fight, which will complete a trilogy between Cerrone and Henderson that dates back to 2009, will be the sixth for Cerrone since January 2014 — and seventh since Aug. 28, 2013, when he suffered his last loss via decision against Rafael Dos Anjos.
He has won six straight since, absorbing 197 significant strikes while handing out 261, according to FightMetric. Jury connected on just 15 significant strikes in 15 minutes.
Compare that to UFC 141 when Cerrone was battered by 238 significant strikes in a 2011 loss to Nate Diaz.
Only three of Cerrone's fights (Dos Anjos, Alvarez and Jury) since August 2013 went the distance with two finishing in the second round (Jim Miller and Evan Dunham) and the other two (Adriano Martins and Edson Barboza) ending in the first round.
Fighters put their bodies through gruelling training camps and weight cuts before each trip to the Octagon. Cerrone said he had no idea what impact fighting again so soon might have on his six-foot-one frame.
"Probably damaging, I'm sure," he said on a conference call Tuesday. "But so is cocaine and alcohol. So I think this is a little less."
Fifth-ranked Henderson (21-4) is coming off a first-round TKO at the hands of dos Anjos, currently ranked the No. 1 contender among 155-pounders.
Cerrone usually leaves the scouting of opponents to his coaches. But Henderson (21-4) is a familiar foe.
Their two previous meetings were in the WEC with Henderson winning by five-round decision in October 2009 and first-round submission April 2010.
"I know a lot about Benson," he said. "Good dude, friend of mine.
"Those fights, that was years ago, man. What do I take away from those? I take the losses that I got from them. I wouldn't take this fight on short notice, one if I wasn't clearly an (expletive) loon and two if I didn't think I could beat Ben."
While he talked up Henderson's skills, Cerrone said he would have said yes no matter who the opponent was.
"I just need a who," he said.
And while he acknowledged Henderson is dangerous, Cerrone said: "If I'm going to be the champ, I've got to beet everyone anyway."
During a public workout in Las Vegas last week, Cerrone wore a T-shirt that summed up that attitude. It read "Anyone, Anyplace, Anytime.''
Next up for 155-pound champion Anthony (Showtime) Pettis is dos Anjos, at UFC 185 on March 14 in Dallas.
Cerrone usually pesters White immediately after each outing about who's next on his fight card. That didn't happen this time because the UFC boss was under the weather.
But Cerrone said he spoke to co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, who told him he would be getting a call. It just came sooner than later.
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