Most mixed martial arts fighters get in the cage two, maybe three times a year.
For Air Academy High grad Donald Cerrone, that's a slow year.
But the man known as Cowboy is returning to the cage for just the second time in 2017.
The last time anyone saw Cerrone in the UFC octagon he was being escorted out of the Pepsi Center arena following a stunning stoppage loss to Jorge Masvidal in a welterweight battle.
Cerrone (32-8, 1 no contest) returns Saturday night to take on former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (27-11, 1 NC) at UFC 214.
Cerrone did not describe the last six months as time off, but rather as a “timeout,” as he told MMAfighting.com at Thursday's media day.
“I was on a long timeout this year,” Cerrone said. “I was put in timeout.”
He didn't go on to explain who put him on the timeout, but he did talk about how excited he is to face Lawler.
“It's a dream matchup for anybody,” he said. “... I've got nothing but love for the guy (Lawler). I've been watching him fight for years.”
Cerrone fought four times each year between 2013 and 2016 and fought five times in 2011, tying a UFC record.
Lawler and Cerrone were originally supposed to scrap last fall, but Lawler asked out of the fight, which was coming a few months after he had been savagely knocked out by Tyron Woodley.
Then the fight was supposed to take place at UFC 213 a few weeks ago. But ahead of the fight Cerrone ended up with a staph infection. He required antibiotics intravenously and that forced the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to call off the fight, he told MMAfighting.com.
Now, he and Lawler, who both made weight Friday, end up on the UFC's most stacked card of the year.
If Cerrone can win, he would tie Michael Bisping, the middleweight champion, for the most wins in the UFC at 20.
Lawler won the welterweight title in 2014 with a decision over Johny Hendricks. He defended the title twice before losing to Woodley.
He also has a reputation as one of the sport's fiercest fighters, and that's saying something.
“He's a fighter's fighter,” Cerrone said. “He's one of the last dying breeds. Fight's going to be just like that. They're going to talk about this fight for a long time.”
Cerrone's fight with Lawler will be available on pay-per-view.