Dustin Poirier, ufc lightweight

Dustin Poirier not looking past ‘Dangerous’ Dan Hooker

The UFC will return to action this Saturday night with a blockbuster main event, as top lightweight contenders Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker are scheduled to meet in a five-round headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Given his resume and the level of competition that he’s faced, Poirier, a former interim lightweight champion and a veteran of the sport, has been labeled by many as the favorite heading into this weekend’s bout.

Currently a winner of three-straight fights, the 30-year-old Hooker has proven to be a tough and gritty must-see attraction, but it could be argued that he lacks a win over a fighter the caliber of Poirier. “The Diamond” is ignoring that sentiment, however, and recently revealed that he sees Hooker as a ‘dangerous’ challenge that he hasn’t taken lightly.

“I don’t like that, honestly,” Poirier told MMA Junkie. “This guy is dangerous. This guy is a top opponent a top-five ranked fighter in the UFC for a reason. I don’t look past anybody. This guy is the only thing I’m focused on right now. 25 minutes with Hooker and we’ll see what happens. I don’t like the fact that fans and stuff are just passing him over because this is a dangerous guy I’ve been preparing very seriously for.”

Despite sitting as the betting favorite, Poirier is actually coming off of a loss as opposed to Hooker who is riding a hot streak. After putting together four-straight victories over some of the sport’s best in Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, and Max Holloway, Poirier earned a shot at 155-pound titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov, but like many other fighters, he fell victim to “The Eagle” in a rather one-sided contest at UFC 242 last September.

Poirier admits that it was a bit difficult to deal with the loss, but he also feels as if it’s only made him a ‘mentally stronger’ fighter.

“I’ve always just submerged myself in work when I’ve lost before and just drowned everything out with hard work,” Poirier said. “This particular loss was the biggest loss of my career and also I had to get sidelined. I couldn’t just jump back in the gym and drown everything out. I had to think and sit on the couch and just watch everybody else fight. So it was more of just a mental training. I feel mentally stronger.”

With Nurmagomedov and Gaethje expected to unify titles this fall and former champion Conor McGregor’s future up in the air, both Dustin Poirier and Hooker have a massive opportunity to insert themselves into the lightweight title picture when the cage door closes this weekend.

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