Gegard Mousasi brought a seven-fight unbeaten streak into his UFC Fight Night 36 main event against Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. While “The Dreamcatcher” looked impressive during the run, he didn’t fight anyone near the caliber of former UFC light heavyweight champion Machida.

And it showed last night.

Coming in off of ACL surgery, Mousasi looked way too slow and lackadaisical to contend with the dangerous striking of “The Dragon,” who nailed the Armenian kickboxer with just about every strike in the book in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.

That’s something Mousasi’s not scared to admit, either. “The Dreamcatcher” spoke up at last night’s post-fight press conference to admit he never had an answer for Machida, but that wasn’t necessarily due to ring rust:

"He was always a step ahead. I just couldn’t get started. I don’t know about the scoring. Maybe I had one round, maybe two. Rhythm always helps, but I felt good in the fight.”

When questioned about his long layoff having an effect on the loss, he wouldn’t use that as an excuse:

“I don’t think so."

The former Strikeforce and DREAM champion is extremely gracious in defeat, but apparently Machida was stifling to the point where Mousasi just couldn’t begin striking. Always relaxed in the cage, he appeared almost on autopilot last night, never fighting with much of a sense of urgency.

It wasn’t the best performance for one of the most well traveled fighters in MMA, but Mousasi should benefit from taking a step back and perhaps re-evaluating his strategy. He said that Machida would be vulnerable to counter strikes, but you’ve got to throw them first if you want them to land.

In any case, Mousasi will receive a noted step down in competition for his next bout. A fight against Francis Carmont, who also lost a one-sided bout to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in last night’s co-main event, could be a great bout for him.

What do you think should be “The Dreamcatcher’s” next move?

Photo: Jason Silva for USA TODAY Sports