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Monday Morning Hangover: What's next for Ryan Bader after knockout loss to Anthony Johnson?

Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC on FOX 18 blew the roof off Prudential Center last Saturday night (Jan., 30, 2016) in Newark, New Jersey.

For complete coverage including play-by-play results click here.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Sage Northcutt, who suffered the first loss of his young career, as he was stopped by Brian Barbarena in round two (see it again here). And Josh Barnett, who was choked out by Ben Rothwell in the co-main event of the night.

See it again here.

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

Ryan Bader.

Going into his light heavyweight fight against Anthony Johnson, Bader was as determined as ever to prove once and for all he was deserving of a shot at the division strap. After all, he had already won five straight in the highly-competitive weight class.

But, he had yet to notch a win over a top three ranked opponent. Something "Darth" needed before his requests would be met, according to "Rumble."

Unfortunately for Ryan, the fight was over as quickly as it began, as Anthony took advantage of a failed takedown attempt from the wrestling powerhouse to gain favorable position. It didn't take long for Johnson to rain down those heavy hands of his to force a stoppage just 68 seconds into the fight.

See how it all went down here.

Given the short amount of time lasted, there isn't much to dissect. But if you ask Daniel Cormier, "Darth" was simply scared of the power that Johnson carries.

Power "DC" himself has felt before.

Personally, I wouldn't go as far as to say a longtime veteran like Bader walked into the Octagon with fear in his heart. The result is simply a testament to Johnson and his punches, which have dropped the best of them time and again. While a shot at the 205-pound title against the winner of Cormier vs. Jon Jones likely awaits Johnson, Bader, unfortunately, will have to start from scratch.

It's the nature of the beast.

Prior to his defeat, Bader had done everything right, winning five straight and doing his hardest to lobby for an overdue championship fight.

That said, Bader has all the tools in the world to rack up another four or five straight wins. But as we've seen in the past, he may not even need that many to get back into a title eliminator fight, he just has to be ready.

As far as his comeback bout, a showdown against Alexander Gustafsson sounds about right. "The Mauler" hasn't had the best of luck in his previous two fights -- which includes a knockout loss to Johnson and championship defeat to Cormier -- so a win over a top-ranked fighter like Bader could be a nice way to turn things around.

For Bader, a win over Gustafsson would help him stay afloat in the rankings and erase the memory of his devastating loss to "Rumble."

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