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Does Donald Cerrone think his fight with Rafael dos Anjos was stopped too early? 'It doesn't matter'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Donald Cerrone turtled up as Rafael dos Anjos rained down punches to his head. Some of them were blocked by Cerrone's gloves and "Cowboy" appeared like he was about to get up. Then, referee Herb Dean came in to end the fight.

Dos Anjos retained his lightweight title with a TKO win at 1:06 of the first round Saturday in the main event of UFC on FOX 17 in Orlando. But some fans felt like Dean stopped the fight prematurely.

What does Cerrone think?

"I don't have any control of it," Cerrone told Ariel Helwani on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show. "They stopped it. [It's] whether I should have been intelligently defending myself, I guess. He had my back. I don't know. It doesn't matter."

Cerrone (28-7, 1 NC) had won eight in a row coming into the fight, finishing five of those men. A title shot had been a long time coming for "Cowboy." But, unfortunately for the fan favorite, it didn't last very long. Dos Anjos landed a hard left hand, a knee to the body and then "overwhelmed" Cerrone with punches.

"It sucks," Cerrone said. "I don't have words for it. The unfortunate part about this job is if you don't show up to work and the other guy does, you end up getting your ass whipped, don't you?"

Helwani asked him what went wrong and Cerrone replied "everything." -- from his warmups on. "Cowboy" said he couldn't even find his gear earlier in the afternoon. It was just one of those days.

"He showed up, I didn't," Cerrone said. "Nature of the beast in this game. Hey, what are you gonna do?"

Cerrone, 32, likes to keep a high pace when it comes to taking fights. He fought four times in each of the last three years. But as for what's next, the usually boisterous "Cowboy" didn't have a clear answer.

"I have no idea how that'll work," he said at the post-fight press conference. "I don't even know if they want to call me after that ass whoopin'. That's what I do is fight. Sometimes you just don't show up. I don't have an excuse. I just wasn't there. He did a great job. He showed up and did what he had to do."