UFC: Who will face Tony Ferguson next?

Tony Ferguson, UFC

For years, there was one man who was the boogey man of the UFC‘s lightweight division. That man was “El Cucuy” Tony Ferguson (25-6). Ferguson has been a staple of the lightweight division for years and he’s constantly been near the very top of the lightweight division.

We were first introduced to Ferguson on The Ultimate Fighter. El Cucuy won the show and earned himself a contract with the UFC after he knocked out Ramsey Nijem. Ferguson then went on to go 11-1 in his next 12 fights inside the octagon.

That stretch included a nine-fight win streak which included a win over former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. That streak led him to a fight with Kevin Lee for the interim lightweight title. Ferguson won that fight and became champion. However, Ferguson didn’t keep the interim title long as it was taken away following knee injuries.

Ferguson was considered by many to be the best lightweight in the world. However, that’s not the narrative anymore. After capturing UFC gold and going on an incredible 12-fight win streak, Ferguson has lost three in a row. He’s not just lost three in a row, but he’s been dominated in those three fights.

Who will the UFC pair him with next?

Since being on this recent skid, many have wondered what would be next for El Cucuy. Recently, Dana White came out and said that the UFC has a fight for Ferguson but he didn’t elaborate on who the opponent would be. Well, thanks to Twitter, we might have some insight.

Rafael Dos Anjos took to Twitter and tweeted at Ferguson asking him about a UFC Fight Night on February 19th. RDA said that he asked the promotion for a fight with Ferguson, and Ferguson seemed to brush him off. It appears that Ferguson would like the UFC to set him up against Michael Chandler.

Chandler was tweeting about a potential fight with Conor McGregor when Ferguson chimed in. Ferguson said that the UFC had relayed a message saying that Chandler would be ready for a fight in the spring. Chandler responded saying he would beat Ferguson bell-to-bell in a hypothetical matchup.

In looking at the UFC’s lightweight division, those two matchups do make sense for Ferguson. Another opponent to watch out for would be Dan Hooker. My guess is that we will find out sooner rather than later who will be fighting El Cucuy next.

Dan Hooker targets return to UFC’s featherweight division

One of the best and most exciting lightweights in the UFC is contemplating a switch in divisions. Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (21-11) is currently considering and leaning towards moving back to the featherweight division.

When Hooker made his debut with the promotion, he debuted at featherweight. However, after not having much success, Hooker decided to move up to the lightweight division. The move was an instant success.

After the move, Hooker strung together a winning streak before losing to Edson Barboza. After the Barboza lost, Hooker went on another winning streak that led him to a fight with Dustin Poirier.

This fight was being looked at as a title eliminator. Hooker looked great early and looked like he was going to get a UFC title shot. However, Poirier rallied and won three straight rounds to take the decision.

Back in January, Hooker took on Michael Chandler in Chandler’s UFC debut. Hooker was knocked out in the first round. He bounced back with a win over Nasrat Haqparast but was recently stopped by Islam Makhachev.

UFC Featherweight Return

After this loss, Hooker started thinking about his future. He posted a video on Twitter of him making the featherweight limit of 146 pounds. He then told Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour that he was strongly considering returning to featherweight.

Hooker’s recent 1-3 stretch has made him reconsider where he should be in the UFC. Hooker fought the best of his career at lightweight, however, maybe the second time at 145 will be better for him.

He already has an opponent in mind that fans would be all for. Hooker told Helwani that he would love to fight ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung (17-6). Jung is coming off of a big win over Dan Ige back in June.

I think fans would be lining up to see a fight with Hooker and The Zombie. Both men are cut from a similar cloth and the fight would be incredibly exciting as well as technical.

At this point, the writing is on the wall for Hooker’s return to the featherweight division. Just a matter of when and who will be the opponent.

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.

Islam Makhachev submits Dan Hooker at UFC 267

On the main card of UFC 267 we saw a tremendous lightweight contest between Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (21-10) and Islam Makhachev (20-1). Hooker was looking for his second win in just over a month while Makhachev was going for his eighth straight win.

The dream for AKA and Eagles MMA was for Islam Makhachev to take over for Khabib Nurmagomedov right after the former UFC lightweight champion retired and Makhachev just might be on his way. He’s 9-1 in the UFC and right now he looks like he could be one of if not the best in the world.

Standing in his way of another win today was the tough Dan Hooker. Last month, Hooker took on Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266 and was able to pick up the decision win. After Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of this UFC 267 matchup with Makhachev, Hooker immediately stepped up for this massive opportunity.

UFC 267 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 267 lightweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Hooker immediately looks for the jab as the two start. Front kick to the body from Hooker. Nice leg kick from Hooker as Makhachev is looking for an opening early.

Both men exchange jabs and Makhachev catches a kick from Hooker and takes him down. Makhachev settles in to halfguard and starts working to advance position. Knee to the body lands from Makhachev. Nice elbows land for Makhachev who keeps trying to advance.

Makhachev starts working for a kimura and Hooker is trying to defend. However, Makhachev locks it in and steps over. It’s deep and Hooker is forced to verbally tap and Makhachev gets another huge win at UFC 267.

Islam Makhachev def. Dan Hooker by Submission (Kimura) – Round 1

UFC 267 Preview: Dan Hooker – Islam Makhachev

Tomorrow on the main card of UFC 267 we will see a tremendous lightweight contest between Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (21-10) and Islam Makhachev (20-1). Hooker will be looking for his second win in just over a month while Makhachev will be going for his eighth straight win.

There haven’t been many lightweights as dominant as Islam Makhachev over the past few years. You can point to his coach and former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as the one person who’s been more dominant.

The dream for AKA and Eagles MMA was for Makhachev to take over for Khabib right after the former UFC lightweight champion retired and Makhachev just might be on his way. He’s 9-1 in the UFC and right now he looks like he could be one of if not the best in the world.

Standing in his way tomorrow is the tough Dan Hooker. Hooker went on a great run when he moved from featherweight to lightweight. That run led him to a fight with Dustin Poirier last year. In a war, Hooker fell short by decision. Afterwards, Hooker last by TKO to Michael Chandler.

Last month, Hooker took on Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266 and was able to pick up the decision win. After Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of this UFC 267 matchup with Makhachev, Hooker immediately stepped up for this massive opportunity.

UFC 267 Prediction

In his past few fights, we’ve seen Islam Makhachev show off some decent striking. However, make no mistake about it, he’s not going to try and strike with Dan Hooker at UFC 267. Tomorrow night is all going to come down to the takedown.

If Islam Makhachev can get Hooker down with ease, it’s going to be a long night for The Hangman. We’ve seen what that Dagestani pressure and wrestling can do to some of the best fighters in the world. Makhachev possesses all the skills to ground and control Hooker.

However, Hooker isn’t going to make it easy. The Hangman is a sniper from the outside and if Makhachev is sloppy, he could get put out with a clean shot. He’s not invincible and we’ve seen him get knocked out in his only loss in the UFC.

Personally, I see Hooker landing some good shots in the early part of all three rounds. However, I don’t think any shot is going to be enough to take Makhachev out. Ultimately, I think Makhachev is able to land enough takedowns and control Hooker enough to win a decision here.

Prediction: Islam Makhachev by Unanimous Decision

Dan Hooker steps in to face Islam Makhachev at UFC 267

Well, Dan Hooker (21-10) is wasting no time getting back into the cage after UFC 266. Just last weekend, Hooker defeated Nasrat Haqparast on the prelims which snapped his two-fight losing streak.

It was a great performance from Hooker who really showed off his wide-range of skills. The fight almost didn’t happen though as Hooker had issues getting a visa to get into the US to fight at UFC 266.

However, the issues were resolved and Hooker fought to victory. We learned last week that Rafael Dos Anjos was potentially going to miss his UFC 267 fight with Islam Makhachev (20-1).

Dos Anjos ended up suffering a knee injury that put the fight in jeopardy. RDA actually had to have surgery but he was still going to try to fight. However, his doctors were going to need to approve it.

Ultimately, the doctors wouldn’t clear him and the UFC was forced to look into other options. They turned right to Hooker and asked if he’d be interested in taking on the dangerous Islam Makhachev. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the news today that Hooker signed and the fight is on at UFC 267.

UFC 267’s New Lightweight Contest

Islam Makhachev has been looked at as a new boogeyman of the lightweight division. He’s seemingly been avoided by many top guys and he’s actually accused Hooker of dodging him in the past.

Well, at UFC 267, he’s going to get his shot against The Hangman. Makhachev will enter the octagon next month riding an eight-fight win streak. The Khabib protégé has all the looks of a future world champion given his skillset.

Some of his coaches actually believe that he’s the evolution of Khabib. While Khabib would take his opponents down and try to smash them, Makhachev is constantly looking for submissions and he’s more advanced on the feet than Khabib was.

This is going to be a real test to see where Makhachev is in his development. If he can defeat Hooker and make it look easy, he will prove to everyone that he belongs in the UFC title conversation. However, if Hooker wins, he will prove that he’s still one of the very best in the world.

Is Dan Hooker – Beneil Dariush the fight to make after UFC 266?

This past Saturday during the prelims of UFC 266, Dan Hooker (21-10) made his return as he took on Nasrat Haqparast (13-4). The fight was considered a risky one by Hooker considering his placement in the division.

Hooker is a top ten lightweight in the UFC and Haqparast is not ranked, yet, he’s viewed as very dangerous. However, Hooker just wanted to get back in the cage after suffering back-to-back losses.

Both men had visa issues getting into the US for this fight, but both showed up on weight for UFC 266 and put on a performance. From the moment the fight started, Hooker was the one pressing forward.

When Hooker lost to Michael Chandler, he was constantly backing up. He made the adjustment in this fight and he was the one putting the pressure on Haqparast. Hooker did eat some shots, but he just kept coming forward.

I was incredibly impressed with how well-rounded of a performance Hooker had at UFC 266. He had good pressure, good striking, and mixed in some beautiful takedowns. All of this added up to a lopsided decision win for The Hangman.

Is Dariush next after UFC 266?

After his big win to get back on track at UFC 266, there was one name on the mind of Dan Hooker and that was Beneil Dariush (21-4-1). Dariush is currently ranked third in the UFC’s lightweight division, but he’s without an opponent.

After picking up six straight wins, Dariush finally got his first big fight against tony Ferguson back in May. Dariush put on an incredible performance as he dominated and controlled Tony Ferguson for fifteen minutes.

Considering where everyone’s at in the division, Hooker makes the most sense for Dariush next. Islam Makhachev is the only guy near Dariush, but he’s tentatively scheduled to face Raphael Dos Anjos at UFC 267. That fight is in trouble due to a knee injury to RDA.

If that fight falls through, perhaps Dariush takes on Makhachev. However, I think a fight with Hooker would make more sense for him. Hooker has a decent following and it’s a better fight for Dariush stylistically. It’s what Hooker wants and it’s the right fight for Dariush. Sign me up!

UFC 266 Preview: Dan Hooker – Nasrat Haqparast

Tomorrow night on the prelims at UFC 266 we are going to see a banger of a matchup in the lightweight division. Entertaining lightweight contenders Dan Hooker (20-10) and Nasrat Haqparast (13-3) will battle it out in one of the featured prelims at UFC 266.

This is a fight that almost didn’t happen this week as both men had visa issues getting into the US. Hooker struggled to get in from New Zealand given the extremely limitations due to covid restrictions. Haqparast struggled to get back into the US after visiting Germany for his mother’s funeral.

That said, both men were able to make it and their fight will go on at UFC 266. This is a huge fight for Haqparast who will be looking for his third straight win. After losing his UFC debut back in 2017, Haqparast has gone 5-1 in his last six fights.

A win tomorrow night would be massive for his career. However, it won’t be easy as he’s taking on one of the best in Dan Hooker. Hooker is looking to get back on track after back-to-back losses.

That said, those losses came against two of the best in the UFC in Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier. Hooker is without question one of the better lightweights in the promotion and tomorrow is about getting back on the winning path.

UFC 266 Prediction

I think this fight is going to be sensational tomorrow night. I think you’re going to see two guys go out there and throw down on the feet. I was incredibly impressed with the boxing that I’ve seen from Haqparast in his recent fights.

His hand speed and accuracy would play well tomorrow at UFC 266. That said, Dan Hooker is a sniper on the outside and he has a much wider range of weapons in terms of his striking arsenal.

I’m really looking for him to use kicks tomorrow and potentially knees as Haqparast tries to close the distance. I think that Haqparast will make it interesting, but a big shot in round two will get The Hangman the win at UFC 266.

Prediction: Dan Hooker by TKO – Round 2

UFC books Dan Hooker – Nasrat Haqparast

The UFC has finalized a fun lightweight matchup for their PPV card next month. After a report from BJPenn.com, it’s been confirmed that the promotion is planning on having a lightweight contest between Dan Hooker (20-10) and rising contender Nasrat Haqparast (13-3).

The fight will take place at UFC 266 on September 25th. It’s no surprise that Hooker finds himself fighting on that card. With COVID restrictions and quarantine rules in New Zealand, the City Kickboxing fighters like to fight either on the same card or right around each other.

Hooker has said for months that he wanted to fight on the same card as teammate Alexander Volkanovski. The UFC featherweight champion is headlining next month’s PPV when he takes on Brian Ortega.

The surprising part of this announcement is the opponent. Nasrat Haqparast is not the opponent I was expecting for Hooker. Haqparast has won two in a row and overall, he’s 5-2 inside the octagon.

Entering UFC 266, Haqparast will not have a ranking by his name. This is a massive opportunity for the lightweight from Afghanistan. Considering all that’s going on in that part of the world, this is a huge moment for him and his native land.

Hooker’s Return at UFC 266

How quickly things have changed for The Hangman in the UFC. A little over a year ago, Hooker was fighting Dustin Poirier in a headliner inside the APEX in Las Vegas. In the first two rounds, Hooker was beating Poirier to the punch.

In fact, Hooker was outclassing The Diamond for the first couple of rounds. However, Poirier flipped the switch and won the final three rounds to win the decision. Had Hooker won that fight, he might’ve been in line for a UFC title shot.

From there, Hooker welcomed Michael Chandler to the UFC back in January. Hooker was the betting favorite, but Chandler scored a first round knockout that shocked everyone. Now, Hooker has fallen back in the rankings and he’s fighting an unranked opponent.

This is a good reset moment for Hooker. Haqparast is an opponent he should beat and it’s a good opportunity for him to get his momentum back. However, it won’t be easy and you can bet that Haqparast will be more motivated than ever at UFC 266.

After another dominant win at UFC Vegas 31, what’s next for Islam Makhachev?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 31, all eyes were on Dagestan’s Islam Makhachev (20-1). Makhachev was going for his eighth consecutive win in the lightweight division, and it wasn’t going to be easy. He was taking on top fifteen ranked Thiago Moises (15-5).

Like Makhachev, Moises is looked at as one of the bright prospects in the lightweight division. Three years younger than Makhachev, Moises was looking to shock the world by derailing the Dagestani Hype Train.

However, at UFC Vegas 31, Islam Makhachev showed the world why he was so special. Thiago Moises had some bright spots here and there, but for the most part, Saturday night was all Islam Makhachev.

Even when Moises would do something well, Makhachev would immediately counter with something better. In the middle rounds, it was Moises that actually engaged in the grappling. Moises actually landed a takedown, but was immediately reversed by Makhachev.

For the most part, it was a mauling from Makhachev at UFC Vegas 31. In the fourth round, Makhachev got in deep on a takedown and put Moises on his back. Makhachev transitioned to the back and locked in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 31?

With this win, it’s clear that Makhachev needs a step up in competition in the lightweight division. There should never be a scenario where he’s fighting guys outside of the top ten moving forward and I think the UFC realizes that.

Dan Hooker called out Makhachev for a fight in September today and that is a fight that I really like. However, I think there’s a better matchup at lightweight for Makhachev. I believe he should fight former UFC champion Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13) next.

RDA was just the backup at UFC 264 and he’s ready to go. Makhachev needs a step up and it would be perfect for him to fight a former champion. The fight would say a lot about both men. It would tell us whether or not RDA is still a title contender and it would tell us whether Islam Makhachev is ready for a title shot.

I believe we are looking at a situation where the UFC will likely have Makhachev get at least two more wins before a title shot. If he gets a win over RDA, expect the promotion to push him straight into a title eliminator with one of the top guys.