In one of only three UFC pay-per-view events held in 2020 so far, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was one half of the UFC 246 main event fight back in January.

Cerrone is seen as a slow starter in his bouts by many. His opponent, the returning Conor McGregor, didn’t let Cowboy settle into a fighting rhythm for a second before unleashing a relentless assault which was as brutal as it was quick, ending in just 40 seconds.

Ahead of his protracted return to the Octagon at UFC 249, Cowboy revealed he wasn’t feeling at all like himself on fight night at UFC 246.

“No, I didn’t [feel good]. Donald showed up, Cowboy wasn’t there. The wrong guy showed up,” Cerrone told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. [Trainscription via Sherdog]

“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.”

Cerrone’s description of how things went down that night seems to indicate how he was perhaps a bit overawed by the occasion. McGregor’s triumphant return to the cage came after well over a year out and the MMA world’s eyes were on both fighters in January.

Cowboy said he wasn’t feeling like himself before the fight, but he feels like he was doomed from the first collision between McGregor and himself.

“I went in there with my thumb in my ass. Made it 40 seconds,” Cerrone said. “It was a f**ked 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?”

Cowboy is set to face Anthony Pettis at UFC 249 on 9 May; a fight which is a key component of one of the best fight cards put together for a long time despite the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.