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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Junior dos Santos following KO loss at UFC 211?

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC 211 blew the roof off American Airlines Center last Saturday night (May 13, 2017) in Dallas, Texas.

For full play-by-play updates and results for UFC 211 click here.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Jessica Andrade, who was the latest person to come up short against women’s Strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk (recap). And Jorge Masvidal, who saw his momentum come to an abrupt halt after Demian Maia edged him out with a split-decision victory (see it again here).

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

Junior dos Santos.

Going into his Heavyweight title fight against division kingpin Stipe Miocic, “JDS” was as confident as ever thanks to a win he scored over Miocic two and a half years ago. And though a lot had changed during that span, like Stipe capturing the 265-pound crown after going on an absolute tear, “Cigano” was confident this time around he’d not only win again, but finish the champ.

No chance.

From the onset, Miocic was the aggressor, walking the Brazilian bomber down, not giving him an inch to breath or distance to pop off some offense. Halfway through the opening frame, Stipe clipped dos Santos with a perfectly-placed strike that sent the heavy-hitter crashing to the canvas. A few follow up strikes later and it was all over.

Full video highlights here.

In a blink of an eye, Junior’s championship fight -- which took four years to get back to — came crashing down. With such a devastating and convincing win, two questions are quickly asked: Is Junior on a decline? Or is Stipe Miocic simply that good?

I’m going to go with the latter, as the Heavyweight champ has been just that, a dominant ruler who has ruled with an iron fist. Two of them, actually, that have wreaked havoc on every foe standing in his way.

In fact, since losing to dos Santos in 2014, Miocic has won five in a row via knockout, with four of them coming in the very first round. And the wins have come against the cream of the crop, taking out the likes of Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, and Andrei Arlovski.

Junior was simply the latest notch on Stipe’s belt.

That said, dos Santos still has plenty to offer the fight game and at 33 years old, can provide a very stiff challenge for anyone in the division. Sure, he’s been inconsistent with his victories by alternating wins and losses over his last seven bouts, but the Brazilian bomber is far from done.

Will he ever vie for the title again? Maybe, maybe not.

One thing is certain, in the 265-pound weight class, a couple of impressive wins will get you back to the big dance sooner, rather than later. And as Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem get ready to mix it up for a third time at UFC 213 this July, you can bet Junior will have a close eye on the matchup, as he’ll likely face the loser in his next outing.

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