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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Cowboy Cerrone after TKO loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 246?

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Another weekend of combat sports action has come and gone, as UFC 246 — the promotion’s first event of the new year — blew the roof off T-Mobile Arena last Sat. night (Jan. 18, 2020) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Raquel Pennington, who dropped her second loss to Holly Holm in a women’s Bantamweight rematch (recap). And Anthony Pettis, who lost his second straight after being submitted by Carlos Diego Ferreira.

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

Donald Cerrone.

Coming into his headlining bout against Conor McGregor, “Cowboy” was on a two-fight skid, a technical knockout loss to Tony Ferguson via doctor stoppage, and a knockout defeat to Justin Gaethje.

The hard hitting-striker has seen better days, but that didn’t hurt him in his bid to land a whale of a fight against McGregor. Indeed, Cerrone finally got his crack at the golden goose, and a win over the former UFC “champ-champ” would've been a perfect way to get back on track and put his two losses in the rear-view mirror for good.

Prior to the fight, Cerrone talked a good game, revealing his all-out striking gameplan. What he didn’t anticipate, though, was McGregor coming out guns blazing, as the fiery Irishman missed on his opening strike, only to get into the clinch and unleash shoulder strikes from hell.

After blocking one of Cerrone's high kicks, McGregor unleashed one of his own that landed flush, dazing his foe to the point of retreat. From there, McGregor’s attack was relentless until referee Herb Dean put an end to the fight, though he did give “Cowboy” more than enough time to defend himself.

It was solid onslaught (and finish), regardless of what Stephen A. Smith had to say.

The loss was “Cowboy’s” third in a row, the second time he suffered such a skid in his extensive career. Despite this, Cerrone isn’t even close to thinking bout retirement.

“I got my ass whipped early,” Cerrone said post-fight. “I love this sport, I’ll keep fighting. I don’t care, it’s just what I love, man. I got my family right here, I’m okay. Thank you everyone for supporting me over the years, I love it, I don’t know what else to say.”

Still, he doesn’t need to prove much else to the MMA world, Cerrone has left his mark in the game — holding multiple UFC records, post-fight bonuses, and a highlight reel of finishes that rivals those of his most successful peers.

Aside from never winning UFC gold, “Cowboy” has been here, done that, so when he leaves the sport, he’ll have a damn great career to look back on. But, that won’t happen anytime soon, as he will take some time off before stepping back into the game. But knowing just what “Cowboy” is all about, it likely won’t be an extended hiatus.

As for who he should face in his return bout, a fight against Gunnar Nelson seems appropriate. The two men have never competed against one another, so it’d be a fresh match up. Nelson is coming off two losses, so like Cerrone, he is also in search of a big win to get back on track. It's the classic grappler versus striker match up, which could prove to be highly-entertaining.

Any objections?

For complete UFC 246 results, including play-by-play updates from last night, click here