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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Alexander Gustafsson after second loss to Jon Jones at UFC 232?

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Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 232 went down last Saturday night (Dec. 29, 2018) inside The Forum in Inglewood, California. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Cris Cyborg, who was knocked out in less than one minute to Amanda Nunes, coughing up her Featherweight title in the process (see it). And Chad Mendes, who was put away by Alexander Volkanovski (recap here).

But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Alexander Gustafsson.

Going into his rematch against Jon Jones, “The Mauler” felt as ready as ever to get one back from the man who defeated him at UFC 165 five years ago in a memorable match up that is still talked about to this day. To hear Gus tell it in countless interviews, he’s been training for “Bones” ever since.

Despite putting in a valiant effort, “The Mauler” once again came up short to Jones, this time suffering a more convincing defeat after getting taken down and downright beat up with vicious ground-and-pound in the third round. Gustafsson simply didn’t have anything to offer Jones this time around, and he will be the first to admit he was taken out of the game early.

“I’m disappointed. Very disappointed, but it’s sport and it’s a fight. We did our best in the Octagon and this was the outcome, so I just have to take it, take it like a man,” Gustafsson said during the UFC 232 post-fight press conference (via MMA Fighting).

“I just hurt my groin in there, and Jon, he knew exactly what to do to stop my footwork and stop my movement and my flow, my distance. So he just made sure I couldn’t move anymore. That was it. He took me down and I couldn’t get up. He got me very, very early in the first round, very early, and after that I just shut down. I wasn’t tired. I had my conditioning, I felt good. I felt good, and we had our exchanges and everything, but he just shut me down very early in the first round and that was it, and I couldn’t move at all. I wanted to move,” Gustafsson added.

What adds insult to injury is that Jones declared that he would take Gus more seriously this time around, unlike their first encounter at UFC 165, in which Jon openly-admitted he partied the week before his fight.

And I guess the proof is indeed in the pudding.

For Gustafsson, this is now his third failed attempt to win UFC gold, which means another title fight will be hard to come by as long as Jones is sitting on the throne. “The Mauler” can always move up to Heavyweight, but the 205-pound division still has plenty of intriguing match ups for him before he considers the jump north.

Up next for Gustafsson should be a fight against Volkan Oezdemir. “No Time” also came up short in his previous outing to Anthony Smith. The two were set to battle it out earlier this year before Volkan was yanked from the fight because of a broken nose. There really isn’t anyone out there who makes sense for either man at the moment.

For complete UFC 232 results, including play-by-play, click here.