Dan Hooker

Dan Hooker Steps In For RDA, Faces Islam Makhachev At UFC 267

It appears we have another late replacement bout added to UFC 267, as former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos has pulled out of his scheduled bout with No. 5 ranked Islam Makhachev for the second time this year.

Now, without the No. 8 ranked former champion, Makhachev needed an opponent, and not many are jumping at the opportunity to fight him. In fact, the only two that have even agreed to fight him are dos Anjos and his new opponent, No. 6 ranked Dan Hooker.

Prior to this, UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling had withdrawn from his first title defense opposing former champion Petr Yan in an immediate rematch. However, he’s been forced out with a lingering neck injury, and has been replaced by Cory Sandhagen.

Long stories short, Sandhagen is now fighting Yan for the interim belt, and Hooker is staying in Las Vegas, foregoing his flight home, in order to fight in one month against one of the scariest guys in the division.

Hooker, following his victory over Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266, stated that he wouldn’t take the fight, once he’d heard ‘RDA’ had pulled out again. Then, the next day, he was interviewed by the same reporter, only he had different answers this time around.

Go back and watch those, they were fun interviews. The first of which, Hooker and he play drunk Uno, and the second of which, Hooker explains why he took the fight.

Now that he’s accepted the fight, there’s a good chance Hooker won’t see his family for the remainder of the year, due to New Zealand travel laws. Ya know, Covid. It’s so sad they’re still acting like this over something that barely exists.

Not to mention, it’s his family. Wouldn’t you think it’d be up to him what they do with their lives?

Nonetheless, we remember seeing pictures of Hooker standing on one side of the fence, while his wife and daughter were on the other side, just waiting to be able to hold one another.

We all saw this heartbreaking picture he shared after he lost to former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler. The reason he took his gloves off inside the octagon that night, presumably, is because he knew he’d be alone for some time following that two-minute defeat.

This is a very interesting match up (Dan Hooker vs Islam Makhachev) and a very conflicting contrast of styles. Makhachev has good striking, but he’s great on the mat. Hooker has good grappling, but is great on the feet.

That makes sense: Hooker started out kickboxing, having success in the sport, while Makhachev had success in combat sambo prior to his MMA career.

Hooker’s certainly had a rougher road to the top than his new Russian opponent, going 21-10 thus far throughout his career, while Makhachev has quietly made it to 20-1 since beginning his MMA career in 2010.

This is the perfect striker versus grappler match up. If this fight stays on the feet, it’s Hooker’s to win. Not to mention, those knees coming up the middle make it hard for anyone to shoot a takedown on him.

How do you see this fight playing out?

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