Sunday, February 28, 2021

Chandler: Hooker A Tougher Matchup Than McGregor, Poirier, & Gaethje

Michael Chandler believes Dan Hooker makes for the toughest matchup he could have had for his UFC debut.

Michael Chandler will be making his long-awaited UFC debut at UFC 257 when he takes on #6-ranked Dan Hooker. Theoretically, Chandler could have been paired with any wide number of names for his UFC debut. But the UFC’s level of opponent selection for Chandler was revealed when he was tapped as the UFC 254 replacement for the fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje, not to mention the fact that he was originally targeted to fight then top-3 lightweights Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson.

So when Michael Chandler’s UFC debut ultimately landed on Dan Hooker, some may think he got off relatively easy. But Chandler doesn’t think so. In fact, he claims that Hooker is a tougher opponent for him than the top 2 ranked lightweights and the former world champion Conor McGregor.

“I think I match up the best with Gaethje, Poirier, and Conor. Dan Hooker would be after that, he would be fourth,” Chandler said to TSN. “It is interesting that I end up with Dan Hooker first fight. But, man, I didn’t sign with the UFC to have a walk in the park. I didn’t sign with the UFC to have anything less than most challenges that I could possibly have in the second half of my career.”

Chandler A Firm Believer In “Styles Makes Fights”

Michael Chandler would clarify that his assessment of Hooker as a tougher matchup than McGregor, Poirier, and Gaethje is solely for stylistic reasons. As the saying goes, styles makes fights, and Chandler sees Hooker giving him more difficulties than the other aforementioned named.

“I don’t think he is more skilled than those other fighters that I mentioned, nor would he win in a contest against them,” Chandler explained. “But, I do believe his physical attributes coupled with his willingness to exchange, his tough chin as well as just the different aspects he brings to the Octagon.”

Do you agree with Michael Chandler? Is Dan Hooker the toughest stylistic matchup for him toward the top of the UFC lightweight rankings?