The last time Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone stepped into the cage, he dominated KJ Noons and once again looked like a potential threat for the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title.
It was a complete turnaround from his previous fight, in which Cerrone was knocked out quickly by Anthony Pettis.
Cerrone said it was very easy to prepare for Noons coming off such a disappointing effort against Pettis.
“The preparation after a loss is always really easy. It gets your hunger and your fire back. It gets you right back in the gym the next day to figure out what you did wrong and what you need to do to get back on the winning side,” Cerrone said. “Getting out there and freezing up the way I did (against Pettis) and not performing to the best of my ability, it makes you mad. It makes you think back to what you should have done and what you didn’t do.”
Cerrone didn’t have that same motivational benefit this time around as he prepared to face Rafael dos Anjos on Wednesday in Indianapolis.
Cerrone instead tried to focus on properly preparing his mind for the fight to avoid the kind of slow starts that plagued him early in his career, and again when he fought Pettis.
“You just have to think about, ‘What am I doing in the gym every day that I can bring to the cage to come out on fire?’ ” Cerrone said. “With the Pettis fight, I feel like I just wasn’t there mentally. I just came out flat. It’s hard, man. Sometimes you have off days, and unfortunately, in this job when you have an off day, you have millions of people critiquing your every move. It sucks.”
Cerrone also had to deal with a June incident in Colorado for which he was cited for third-degree assault in a “boat rage” situation for which the other party was cited for reckless operation of a boat and reckless endangerment.
The fighter declined comment on the matter other than to say it has not been a distraction despite the news surfacing just a couple weeks before his fight.
The fight is part of a card featuring a welterweight main event between Martin Kampmann and Carlos Condit. Live coverage begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday on Fox Sports 1 (Cable 329).
■ AILING FEATHERWEIGHTS — Injuries have struck a pair of stars in the UFC’s crowded 145-pound division.
Superstar prospect Conor McGregor suffered a torn ACL, strained MCL and meniscus tear in his knee and will miss at least 10 months after having surgery.
“The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung also required surgery on a separated right shoulder and broken orbital bone suffered during a loss to champion Jose Aldo at UFC 163 on Aug. 3 in Rio de Janeiro.
Jung also suffered a broken foot in the fight. He could potentially miss up to a year. Before the Aldo loss, Jung had not fought since May 2012 because of an injury to his left shoulder.
■ FUTURE UNCERTAIN FOR STRUVE — UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve’s future as a fighter is in limbo after the 25-year-old was hospitalized with a heart condition.
Doctors discovered a leaking aortic valve and diagnosed Struve with an enlarged heart last month, as reported on “UFC Tonight.”
Struve’s manager Lex McMahon confirmed the news in a statement, saying the 7-footer was hospitalized for a week and will be re-evaluated after two months of treatment.
Struve had won four fights in a row before a knockout loss to Mark Hunt in March. He is 9-4 in 13 UFC bouts.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.