Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone likely envisioned his fight with Rafael dos Anjos going a million different ways, but getting caught with punches and finished at just 66 seconds into the first round was never one of them.
Cerrone made no excuses for the loss when speaking at the FOX UFC Fight Night post-fight news conference Saturday, but instead paid tribute to dos Anjos for getting the job done when he failed to show up and put on a good performance.
"Sometimes you just don't show up to work. You get your ass kicked," Cerrone said. "But hats off -- the son of a (expletive) did what he had to do."
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Cerrone said the move that precipitated the end was an early knee that landed from dos Anjos and that changed the entire context of the fight from that moment on.
Realizing Cerrone was stunned, dos Anjos charged forward with a barrage of punches that continued to hit the UFC and WEC veteran repeatedly until he was finally taken to the mat. From there, dos Anjos continued his assault until the referee saw enough and called a stop to the contest in the first round.
"He got me with a knee, not the kick. The kick didn't land. The knee's what started it then he put a great onslaught of punches on me," Cerrone said. "He did a great job overwhelming me and do what he had to do to remain champ. Sometimes you just don't show up and in our profession it's a bad day."
A title fight loss is never easy but it was particularly tough for Cerrone, who had gone on an eight-fight win streak before finally earning his shot at gold and a second chance at dos Anjos who defeated him back in 2013 as well.
Over the past few years, Cerrone has been one of the most active fighters on the UFC roster but actually sat out for approximately six months while waiting for the title fight with dos Anjos to happen.
Following this setback, Cerrone can't be certain what comes next although he's obviously disappointed in his effort after dropping only his second fight in his past 11 performances.
"I have no idea how that will work. I don't know if they'll even want to call me after that ass whooping," Cerrone lamented.
"That's what you do with fights, sometimes you just don't show up and I don't have an excuse, I wasn't there. He showed up, did a great job and did what he had to do."