After winning his first four fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, WEC import Donald Cerrone suffered his first defeat in the promotion when he faced Nate Diaz at UFC 141.
It was a particularly frustrating loss for Cowboy due to the fact he wasn't his normal aggressive self throughout their bout. He spent a majority of their encounter moving backwards and covering up, never really letting his hands and feet go at any point during the fight. Cerrone's leg-kicks were extremely effective against Diaz, flooring the Stockton native a few times, yet Cerrone threw them sparingly.
Nate on the other hand made MMA history that night, setting a new CompuStrike record for accuracy in a three-round bout after landing 82 percent of his strikes (258 out of 314).
Donald Cerrone was able to bounce right back with wins against Jeremy Stephens and Melvin Guillard, but he ran into problems once again when he faced fellow WEC import Anthony Pettis at UFC on Fox 6. "Showtime" stopped him with a vicious kick to the body, bringing an end to their contest halfway through the first round.
It was a tough loss for Donald -- who had never been stopped by strikes prior to his bout against Pettis -- to deal with, and it eventually prompted him to seek the services of a sports psychologist to help with his mental preparations for fights.
"It's trying to figure out, what do I do in the cage that I don't do in training, because in training, I don't lose a round," Cerrone told MMAJunkie.com. "If one of my past [opponents] that defeated me, like Diaz or Pettis came down to Jackson's on training day? Without a doubt in my mind I'd take them. Then I get there in the cage and the lights, and fighting is so hard. It's like, you get into a confrontation at a stoplight, get out and fight a guy on the street, yeah, that's one thing. But having six months to plan and think? I go to bed next to my girl, and I'm thinking about a dude. All that time messes up your mind."
Cerrone is set to welcome Strikeforce import K.J. Noons into the Ultimate Fighting Championship on May 25 at UFC 160. Like Cerrone, K.J. is also a competent striker, so there a decent chance the two will walk away with Fight of the Night honors when they collide at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
One thing's for sure, Cerrone won't be backpedaling when he squares up against K.J., as he's eager to put on a show for MMA fans and restart his climb up the UFC's lightweight rankings.
"Never in my career am I going to get booed," Cerrone added. "Absolutely not. If my coach told me, 'Listen, we need to take this guy down and hold him there for the round and win this fight,' I'd tell him, 'Hey, after this fight you're going to be looking for a new job.' My style is to go out there and throw down. That's what I get paid to do: put on a show and be entertaining."