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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Dustin Poirier after submission loss to Khabib at UFC 242?

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Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 242 is now in the history books after going down inside The Arena on Yas Island last Saturday night (Sept. 7, 2019) in Abu Dhabi.

Plenty of fighters were left feeling the blues, including Edson Barboza, who came up short against Paul Felder, losing to “The Irish Dragon” via split-decision (see the highlights here). And Andrea Lee, who saw her seven fight win streak — 3-0 UFC — go out the window after she was outclassed by Joanne Calderwood.

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

Dustin Poirier.

After defeating Max Holloway in a thrilling interim title fight at UFC 236, not only did Dustin earn himself his first taste of UFC gold, but he set himself up for the biggest fight of his career against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

And you couldn’t blame “The Diamond” for coming in with tons of confidence, as he was on a crazy run, defeating the likes of the aforementioned Holloway, Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis.

Unfortunately for Dustin, he quickly realized why Khabib is known as one of the best in the world and the top 155-pounder in the sport today. As usual, “The Eagle” went to his bread and butter by taking Poirier down and smothering him with his suffocating top game. Still, Khabib couldn’t help himself and opted to test Dustin’s striking skills at one point, but quickly got clipped with a massive right hand that had him reeling. Once he tasted Poirier’s fists, “The Eagle” wisely took it back to the ground.

Dustin did have another opportunity to finish Khabib, locking in a tight guillotine choke in round three, which the lightweight king had to work to get out of. Once he did, it was all she wrote for a visibly-exhausted Poirier, as Nurmagomedov clamped on a rear-naked choke with anaconda-type grip that forced the tap.

To no one’s surprise, Dustin was all class in defeat, though one couldn’t ignore the pain he was in after coming up short, both in the cage and during the post-fight presser. And it’s completely understandable, as he worked his way up the ladder over the last nine years under the UFC banner to get to this point. Surprisingly, though, Dustin did hint at possible retirement following the crushing defeat.

”Thank you guys for the support, it means a lot to me,” he said. “If I choose to fight again, I’ll be back strong. If not I’ll see what God has in store for me.”

Hopefully, the statement was simply made out of emotion, as Dustin is without a doubt one of the best 155-pound fighters on the planet, and he still has plenty to offer the fight game.

If and when Dustin decides to return, a fight against Conor McGregor seems ideal seeing as how they both lost to Khabib recently. But since “Notorious” thinks he deserving of a rematch against “The Eagle,” UFC will likely have a hard time convincing him to take the fight.

Should that fight not happen, perhaps a fight against Donald Cerrone is in order; assuming “Cowboy” can get through Justin Gaethje next weekend in Vancouver.