At UFC 257, Dan Hooker (20-10) was in the co-main event of the Conor McGregor – Dustin Poirier card. Hooker was coming off of a loss to Dustin Poirier and was being tasked with welcoming Michael Chandler to the UFC.
When the betting lines closes, Hooker was the favorite. Prior to UFC 257, Hooker had only been defeated twice in nine fights at 155 pounds. When the fight started, Chandler pressed forward with a ton of pressure and Hooker just circled.
It seemed like Hooker was trying to gauge the range and timing of Michael Chandler. A couple of minutes in, Hooker landed his first big calf kick which I thought would be key for him. However, it was the last successful moment that he had.
Chandler pressed forward and threw a right straight to the body then came up with a vicious left hook. The shot sat Hooker down and Chandler followed up with shots that gave him the TKO victory at UFC 257.
Hooker was extremely disappointed and threw his gloves after the fight. However, he’s made it clear that he was just frustrated and he was never seriously contemplating retiring from the UFC once he calmed down after the loss.
Dan Hooker trains in New Zealand alongside UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski. A lot of the time, these guys try to align themselves on cards together due to the quarantine rules in New Zealand.
With that, Hooker tried to get on the card at UFC 263 this weekend with Israel Adesanya headlining. However, the promotion couldn’t get him an opponent in time. With that, Hooker told Submission Radio last week that he’s targeting the proposed Volkanovski card in September.
When asked about potential opponents for his UFC return, one opponent Hooker really likes is Tony Ferguson (25-6). The former interim lightweight champion has lost three fights in a row, but like Hooker, has no plans on going anywhere.
Both lightweight contenders are 0-5 in their last five, but those five losses were against five of the top six lightweights in the UFC. For that reason, both men are still ranked inside the top ten. Both need a win and a fight between the two could make sense. I could definitely see the UFC entertaining that fight as an option.