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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Lyoto Machida after suffering third straight loss?

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Brunson vs Machida Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC Fight Night 119 blew the roof off Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil last Saturday night (Oct. 28, 2017) on FOX Sports 1.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Demian Maia, who was beat down by Colby Covington in a bloody war during the co-main event of the evening in front of his home crowd (see it). And Rob Font, who was choked out in the very first round by Pedro Munhoz.

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

Lyoto Machida.

Going into his headlining bout against Derek Brunson, “The Dragon” had dropped his last two contests, coming up short against Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero. To make matters worse, Lyoto hadn’t competed in nearly two years after he was handed a lengthy suspension for failing a drug test.

Unfortunately for Machida, things got worse before they improved... in a hurry.

It didn’t take Brunson much time to clip Lyoto with a powerful strike to floor him, and then proceeded to deliver a few more extra blows to the downed “Dragon” to put him out cold (see it again here).

While there wasn’t much fight to analyze, Lyoto’s career moving forward offers up plenty to discuss.

Since dropping down to Middleweight, the Brazilian’s run inside the Octagon has been subpar, going 3-4 since 2013. Prior to that, Machida lost his last fight at Light Heavyweight to Phil Davis.

At 205 pounds, Machida had pretty good success, as he ushered in “The Machida Era” with his knockout win over Rashad Evans to win the 205-pound title back in 2009. He was able to defend it once against Mauricio Rua before he coughed it up to the same opponent via first-round knockout in his next fight.

From that point, Lyoto went on to collect an even 3-3 record at 205 pounds and never seemed to be able to find his groove. What makes his skid troubling is the fact that he’s been finished rather violently in all three losses, twice by knockout and once by submission.

Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess, as the 39-year old is at a crossroads in his combat sports career.

Can he move back up to light heavyweight? Sure. However, the competition up there has gotten tougher over the years, as the younger, bigger, stronger fighters such as Misha Cirkunov, Volkan Oezdemir, and Ovince Saint Preux are climbing the ranks. Plus, we still have longtime veterans such as Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixiera and the champion, Daniel Cormier, still doing their thing at 205 pounds.

Middleweight is much of the same.

There is always the option of retiring, but I just don’t see Machida doing that anytime soon. He’s done enough in the game to walk away with a smile on his face, but the warrior in him just won’t let him leave on a bad skid.

If he doesn’t stick around for much longer, I envision him staying put at 185 pounds. And call me crazy, but a fight that sort of makes sense is a rematch against the aforementioned Rashad Evans.

Both combatants are riding bad losing streaks — wtih Evans losing four straight — and are seemingly at the tail-end of their fighting careers. As mentioned earlier, Machida’s UFC career got its kickstart after knocking “Suga” out to win the title, so the story lines are there.

The matchup will give us definitive looks as to where each fighter stands, and would either allow Evans to get some sweet revenge or give Lyoto one more chance to prove he’s still got something to offer the fight game.

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