The woman training MMA fighter Cowboy Cerrone at his New Mexico 'ranch of fun'

Shara Vigeant has trained MMA fighters for 10 years, but until meeting one called cowboy she had never been invited skeet shooting.

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone holds the record for the most Fight of the Night bonuses in UFC history, with 17 under his belt.

He is one of the top five lightweights, and will next face Tony Ferguson at a UFC fight in Chicago on June 8.

Vigeant took a flight Wednesday from Edmonton back to Albuquerque, N. M., to train Cerrone for that upcoming fight.

Last week, she came home for a brief rest after spending six weeks training there.

“Every day was an adventure,” Vigeant told CBC’s Radio Active.

“While I was there, I rode a horse for the first time. I did paintball every day, I helped with rock climbing, I rode in a boat. It was my first time skeet shooting.”

Cerrone built his ranch as a playground and training camp for himself and other fighters.

Vigeant stayed in one of the dorms on the property, along with the other fighters who train there.

“It’s literally a ranch of fun, but he works there,” she said. “He can train whenever he wants and that’s why he loves it.”

They raise farm animals on the property, but there’s also a fully equipped gym.

Even the goats have a punching bag in their pen.

“The boring stuff is the training,” she said. “Everyone thinks all we’re doing down there playing and day drinking. But no, we play after we work. He likes to work hard and play harder.”

Shara Vigeant poses along with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and his team pose for photo after training for his UFC win on May 4. (Rodrigo Donoso)

Vigeant was there as Cerrone prepared to fight Al Iaquinta on May 4.

It was surreal sitting ringside when he won, she said.

“I was proud not only professionally but personally, because he’s a great guy and he’s a legacy in the sport,” she said.

“All the play aside, we did put in some serious work. That’s why we did win.”

‘I don’t take any guff’

Vigeant met Cerrone in 2017 through his coaches, when he was in Edmonton filming a movie.

She trained him at her private gym SVPT Fitness.

“He took to me because I don’t take any guff,” she said. “I’m there to do a job, and you’re paying me to do a job. So I don’t let you get away with a lot of stuff.

“I’m a no-nonsense kind of a person.”

At the ranch, Cerrone rotates between grappling, striking, jujitsu, wrestling and training for two to three hours per day, depending on his schedule, she said.

A typical workout, she said, includes cyclical rounds of 25-minute bursts of high power activity.

“It’s never steady — it’s always going to be short bursts of high power,” she said. “So we’re always looking to make sure his recovery is good, that his power output is good.”

Vigeant said she sometimes helped keep him on his strict nutrition regime to maintain his weight in the 155-pound class.

Despite being a high-performance athlete, she said, Cerrone had his weaknesses.

“He’s terrible with candy. He couldn’t cut out his Snickers.”

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