What’s next for Dan Hooker after UFC 267?

Last Saturday at UFC 267, Dan Hooker (21-11) fought for the second time in just over a month when he took on Islam Makhachev (21-1). Hooker was trying to pick up his second straight win which would’ve had him right back in the title picture at lightweight.

For Hooker, the key at UFC 267 was going to be avoiding the takedown. If he couldn’t stay on his feet, it was going to be a steep road to victory. Unfortunately, he didn’t do himself a favor in the opening exchanges of the fight.

Hooker needed to strike from distance, which is what he started doing. However, he through a leg kick that was immediately caught and chained into a takedown for Makhachev. Once the fight touched the mat, it was virtually over.

Makhachev went right through the guard of Hooker and secured a dominant position. Once there, Makhachev locked in a kimura and forced Hooker to verbally tap at UFC 267 giving Hooker his third loss in his last four fights.

What’s next after UFC 267?

Last summer, Dan Hooker headlined a UFC Fight Night against Dustin Poirier. Had he won that fight, he would’ve likely been in line for a title shot. He started that fight extremely well and won the early rounds against Poirier.

However, Poirier came on really strong and won a decision. Then, Hooker was knocked out by Michael Chandler back in January. He bounced back against Nasrat Haqparast before stumbling against Islam Makhachev.

The thing that’s clear to me is that Hooker is one of the best lightweights in the UFC. However, at the same time, he’s not at the top of the division. After watching him take on some of the best, Hooker is more in the mid-tier to lower half of the top ten.

Still incredibly good and talented, but a step behind the elites of the UFC. So after this latest loss, what’s next for The Hangman? I still want to see the battle between Hooker and Tony Ferguson (25-6). This is a tremendous fight on paper and I truly believe it’s the right fight for both men. Time will tell if the UFC likes this one as well.