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Monday Morning Hangover: What's next for Alexander Gustafsson after second championship defeat?

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC 192 blew the roof off Toyota Center last Saturday night (Oct. 3, 2015) in Houston, Texas

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Rashad Evans, who was dominated by Ryan Bader in the co-main event of the evening (see it again here). And Jessica Eye, who was outclassed and outgunned by Julianna Pena (recap).

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now 48 hours removed from the show?

Alexander Gustafsson.

The towering Swede looked to prove his critics wrong, after many declared he wasn't deserving of a title shot, by dethroning current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier from atop the 205-pound mountain.

In the process, "The Mauler" could've exorcised all of his demons, which include a recent knockout loss to Anthony Johnson, as well as his loss to Jon Jones a few years ago in which he failed to capture the division title.

But his brawl against "DC" was deja vu in more ways than one.

Not only did Gustafsson come up short in his bid to capture the crown, yet again, he was involved in another five-round championship fight that left him bloodied and battered (see it again here). And just like in his fight with "Bones," Gus had to take an immediate trip to the hospital to tend to his wounds.

The loss is a crucial one for Gustafsson, as his title hopes are slowly fading away after dropping his second title fight.

Sure, he lays it all on the line and gives it his all to get the job done; however, he always seems to come up just shy of capturing the title, barely. During the post-fight press conference (watch it), Cormier commended Gus and declared that the sport needs more fighters like him.

Again, just like in his fight against "Bones," he was showered with praise for his performance in defeat.

And there's nothing wrong with that, as Gus should get plenty of credit for leaving it all in the cage, but he'll be the first person to tell you that there is no such thing as moral victories in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).

Now, Alex finds himself in a tough situation, as he'll need at least two or three more impressive victories to get himself back to the big dance. Especially since the division is about to get a bit more crowded

That said, the young fighter does have time on his side, and his championship dreams aren't completely diminished.

As far as who he should face next, a bout against the aforementioned Evans sounds like a nice fit. Both men are coming off tough losses, which means both are eager to get back into the win column.

Which means they could provide fight fans with another instant classic.

For more on the UFC 192: "Cormier vs. Gustafsson" fight card, including live updates and play-by-play, click here and for a fight recap click here.