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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Joanna Jedrzejczyk after suffering second straight loss to Rose Namajunas?

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 223 went down from inside the Barclays Center last Saturday night (April 7, 2018) in Brooklyn, New York.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Al Iaquinta, who was beat down for five rounds by Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of the evening. In his defense, “Raging Al” agreed to face “The Eagle” on just one day’s notice after a wild and crazy week in Brooklyn (video highlights). And then we have Joe Lauzon, who was rattled and dismantled in the very first round by Chris Gruetzemacher (recap).

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

Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Going into her rematch against Rose Namajunas, “JJ” was confident she had made all of the proper corrections to avenge her loss to “Thug Rose” last November at UFC 217, a first-round knockout loss.

The main factor in her defeat — according to Joanna — was the brutal weight cut she had to endure in order to hit the 115-pound mark. For her part, Namajunas never criticized Joanna for her excuses remarks, instead taking the high road.

Come fight night, the ladies put it all on the line, as they staged a highly-entertaining five-round title fight that saw both combatants have their shining moments, much to the delight of fight fans around the world. Indeed, both Joanna and Rose absorbed and dished out some good shots for the duration of their 25-minute war.

In the end, the cageside judges awarded the unanimous decision win to Namajunas, much to the chagrin of Jedrzejczyk, who felt she had done enough in the striking department to win the bout.

Despite a valiant effort from Joanna, the judges got it right, which means the Polish-born striker now finds herself in a tough spot, as far as her championship aspirations are concerned. She could always move up a division (or two) in an attempt to stake her flag there, but she’s stated outright that it’s simply not in the cards.

For now.

Barring a change of heart to move up, Joanna is going to have a tough time getting back to the big dance at 115 pounds, especially if Rose holds on to the strap for an extended run. Even if she ever works her way up to a trilogy fight, Namajunas has proven she has Joanna’s number, which means a third defeat to “Thug Rose” would just be devastating.

That said, Joanna still has to get there and it won’t be as easy this time around, as she will need at least two or three impressive wins to get there. And now that she’s been knocked out and worked for five rounds, the rest of the division has obviously been doing its homework, so getting those necessary wins is going to be a bit tougher.

As a starting point, I’d like to see her face off against Tecia Torres, who had her three-fight win streak snapped by Jessica Andrade a few months ago. Torres -- the No. 5 ranked fighter in the division -- can provide Joanna some interesting obstacles on her road back to the title, as her mixture of wrestling and striking has given everyone fits.

Unless, of course, you have a better idea?