Monday, October 25, 2021

Dan Hooker Responds To Fans Claiming He Ducked Islam Makhachev

Dan Hooker has some words for those who believe he has been avoiding a showdown with Islam Makhachev.

Hooker is currently the number eight-ranked UFC lightweight. “The Hangman” hasn’t had much luck inside the Octagon in his last two fights. He’s suffered a unanimous decision defeat to Dustin Poirier, followed by a first-round TKO loss to Michael Chandler. Hooker hasn’t been victorious since his Feb. 2020 split decision over the now-retired Paul Felder.

There’s been a lot of speculation about what Hooker’s next move will be. During an appearance on Submission Radio, Hooker revealed he tried to get on the UFC 263 card but he had no luck.

“There were no stipulations on my end to the UFC. This is coming purely from my perspective. It’s funny how people get carried away with things on social media…I said, ‘Is there anybody that wants to fight on Israel’s card (UFC 263). This is like five weeks ago. He came back to me and he said, ‘There’s no one that’s ranked who’s free or uninjured.’

“So then I messaged the UFC, and I said, ‘Is there anybody that wants to fight on Volk’s card?’ So I’m waiting for that. As soon as that got announced, Volk’s vs. Ortega, as soon as a date gets set for that, that’s the card I’m looking to get on. The team will be ready to go again, and I’m just looking for an opponent. But from my end, there were no stipulations. I never said the guy had to be ranked higher, had to be ranked this, I never stipulated a name. I never made any kind of stipulations to the UFC about anything like that. So it’s funny how people get carried away with this narrative on social media.”

Fans have begun speculating that Hooker was ducking Makhachev. To add fuel to the fire, Daniel Cormier claimed that Felder, Rafael dos Anjos, and some top 10-ranked UFC lightweights turned down fights with Makhachev.

Hooker insisted that Makhachev wasn’t available to fight him at UFC 263.

“The only reason that fight didn’t get put together is he wasn’t ready to go in June. That’s the only thing that I can see from my end. He’s got himself another fight. If he gets through that or whatever (and) he’s ready to go on Volk’s card…to me, I never stipulated an opponent. I’ve never been offered that fight. That name has never come across my desk. So it’s funny. But I’m not Paul Felder. Those kind of people, I guess they don’t irritate me like they irritated him.”

Makhachev is expected to take on Thiago Moises on July 17. The bout will be featured on a UFC on ESPN card headlined by Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez.

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