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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Jose Aldo following devastating TKO loss in Rio?

MMA: UFC 212-Aldo vs Hollway Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC 212 blew the roof off Jeunesse Arena last Saturday night (June 3, 2017) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For full play-by-play updates and results for UFC 212 click here.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Karolina Kowalkiewicz, who was tapped out in the very first round of co-main event of the evening by Claudia Gadelha (full video highlights here). And Nate Marquardt, who came up on the wrong end of the judges’ scorecards against Vitor Belfort (recap).

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

Jose Aldo.

Going into his title unification main event fight against Max Holloway, Aldo was sitting on top of the world. Once again he was the ruler at Featherweight, was fresh off a win over Frankie Edgar for the second time and Conor McGregor’s ghost seemed to have finally disappeared.

Plus, “Junior’s” only loss in 12 years was a 13 second knockout loss to the aforementioned McGregor, so coming up short inside the cage was something the hard-hitting Brazilian was unfamiliar with.

But, Holloway wouldn't be denied, as the proud Hawaiian was on the verge of fulfilling his life long dream of becoming the undisputed 145-pound champion of the world by taking out the most dominant fighter in the division for quite some time.

And Max, made the most of his opportunity, taking it to Aldo and finishing him in the third round of the five-round fight after surviving an early blitz from Junior. Indeed, it was an impressive win from Max, who tagged Jose with a few well-placed strikes to drop him like a sack of potatoes, and then pounced in him to finish the job with relentless ground-and-pound.

And despite Aldo’s protest, that stoppage was more than fair (see it again here).

Now, the road is unclear for a man who now has two losses in his last three outings after going over a decade undefeated to the tune of winning 18 straight victories and leaving a trail of destruction behind along the way.

Prior to the bout, Aldo was proclaiming he’d be asking for his fights moving forward, targeting super-fights to get the most bang for his buck ala McGregor. The loss, though, obviously put a huge damper in those plans, as he’ll have to claw back up just to get back into title contention in his own division.

The good news is, Conor hasn’t been around to hold the division hostage, which means Aldo won’t have to win that many fights to get back into the title mix, as no one in the top four has won more than four straight other than Cub Swanson.

That said, the next title shot will either go to Cub or Frankie Edgar, though my vote is for Swanson. So if I had any say in the matter, I’d book Aldo to face Ricardo Lamas for his next bout.

Lamas was set to face Chan Sung Jung at UFC 214 this July, but “The Korean Zombie” suffered an injury that bounced him from the event. “The Bully” already has a loss to Junior back in 2014, so you know he’d like a chance for some get back.

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