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According to Donald Cerrone, he was willing to wait for a Conor McGregor fight for a little while, but in the end his desire to get in the Octagon and fight just couldn’t be denied any longer.

Cerrone will now meet Al Iaquinta in the main event of UFC Ottawa this Saturday night in a contest that could well have repercussions for the top of the lightweight division. And for Cerrone, it’s not as if he’d be disinclined to accept should a McGregor bout land on his desk, it’s just he has to start prioritising what he believes is more important.

“It just hard. Especially for this fight, we said we’re going to wait for Conor, he agreed, we were supposed to have it done, then he said he needed more time,” Cerrone said at the UFC Ottawa media day. “It kept getting drawn out, so we were like, ‘Nah, not anymore.’ I love fighting, man. I don’t like sitting and waiting. If the fight ever comes to be, I’ll gladly take it. But right now we’re going to chase that belt. That’s the last thing I need to do.”

While some fighters would happily sit on the sidelines for as long as it took to get a contest with the Irishman — no doubt waiting for that famous ‘red panty night’ — Cerrone believes it’s not as crazy a life difference as some would believe.

“I don’t know about this payday talk,” Cerrone said. “Everyone thinks you fight Conor, you get paid. We’re under contract, man. Now with the ESPN thing, the pay-per-view buys are already done. It’s not like we get – so it’s a big misconception. Conor might get paid. ‘Cowboy’ might get a little bump, but it’s not a $10 million night for me by any means.”

Instead, Cowboy believes there’s one specific way he can maximise his earnings in MMA, and that’s by winning gold.

“I need to go get this belt,” Cerrone said. “That’s where the real money is. Aside from the money, I love it. Fighting three, four times a year. I enjoy the training camp. I enjoy this. The whole process to me, I’m going to miss the (expletive) out of it when I’m done. Right now I’m in it, and I love it.”