Dan Hooker, UFC Fight Night 128

Dan Hooker thinks Justin Gaethje has best shot of beating Khabib Nurmagomedov

Dan Hooker is just days away from the biggest fight of his career as standing across the octagon from him will be former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. The winner of the fight is potentially next in line for the winner of the upcoming title unification bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.

Hooker is aware of what’s on the line and he’s been being asked often about the upcoming unification bout. On Tuesday, Hooker told MMA Fighting exactly what he thinks of the Nurmagmedov-Gaethje fight.

“I’m definitely interested,” Hooker told MMA Fighting. “Gaethje, if you’re describing a skill set that would give Khabib trouble, it is Gaethje’s skill set. An incredibly strong defensive wrestler who’s very handy on his feet and can dish out a lot of damage. Great cardio being five rounds. Very comfortable being in a main event spot.

“He has the game you would put together to definitely give Khabib his toughest test. I’m leaning more towards Geathje in that fight.”

If Hooker gets the win on Saturday and if Gaethje upsets Nurmagomedov, Hooker would love to have a scrap with Gaethje, especially since they’ve recently went back and forth on twitter.

“That sounds like a perfect way to cap off the year,” Hooker said. “I’ll stay ready, I’ll stay sharp, but I’m looking for that next title shot. I feel like this win, especially a knockout win, really solidifies my spot as the next No. 1 contender.”

Hooker and Poirier will meet in the main event of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 12 card. The main card will begin at 8 p.m. EST and will be live on ESPN.

Dan Hooker will come into the fight with a four-fight winning streak and has wins in seven of his last eight fights. He holds wins over Jim Miller, Gilbert Burns, Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder. 

Poirier will be making his first appearance since losing his unification fight to Nurmagomedov in September 2019.

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