Donald Cerrone has been known as a notoriously slow starter throughout his mixed martial arts career. At UFC 246, Conor McGregor never gave him a chance to recover.
Cerrone, who will return to action against Anthony Pettis at UFC 249, told ESPN he knew two days before the Jan. 18 bout that “I just wasn’t feeling it.”
“No, I didn’t (feel good). Donald showed up, Cowboy wasn’t there. The wrong guy showed up,” Cerrone said. “I couldn’t get going, couldn’t get excited, couldn’t get fired up. Didn’t want to be there. Biggest fight, all the attention, my time to shine, and I didn’t want to be there. It was crazy, man.
“I don’t know why, I don’t know how, I don’t know how to change that. It sucks, man. Sometimes I show up and I’m fired up, ready to go. Sometimes I get there and [I’m like], ‘I don’t even want to be here.’ So, I don’t know. No idea. I wish I had the answer.”
While “Cowboy” is one of the promotion’s most popular fighters, UFC 246 nonetheless represented the biggest opportunity of his career to date. McGregor is arguably the biggest star in UFC history, and he was making his highly anticipated Octagon return after more than a year on the sidelines. Once the opening bell sounded, the Irishman went on the offensive. Cerrone, meanwhile, was simply trying to regain his bearings.
“I went in there with my thumb in my ass. Made it 40 seconds,” Cerrone said. “It was a f—ed up deal. It sucked bad. I haven’t really talked to anybody about that fight or anything going in.
“When he came at me and ran with that big shot and I shot it, I hit his hip bone. Then I grabbed a hold of him to get my bearings back, and he did the jumping shoulder slam, which just compounded the f—ing fog in my brain. Then I let go, and he head kicked me. There was no time to regroup. From the first second of the fight to when he ended it I couldn’t even get my bearings back. A lot of people have come to me and said I threw the fight. You’ve got the wrong guy to think I’d sell my soul. There’s not enough money in the world I’d throw a fight. Are you kidding me?”
Even with 34 UFC appearances to his credit, Cerrone has been unable to find the consistency he desires from fight to fight.
“I can’t put words on it,” he said. “It’s like being somewhere you don’t want to be. It’s like being in a spelling contest and you can’t spell. You got to stand in front of the world and try and spell. It’s a weird feeling, man. You trying to convince yourself, wear the face and fake it til you make it. But sometimes…I don’t know. It’s a weird sport.”
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