Sunday, October 24, 2021

Hooker: It’s Silly To Think Fighters Are Afraid To Fight Islam Makhachev

Following Islam Makhachev’s big win at UFC Vegas 31, Dan Hooker isn’t buying that fighters are afraid to fight the #9-ranked Russian out of American Kickboxing Academy.

Over the weekend, Islam Makhachev capitalized on his first time headlining a UFC event. The heir to Khabib Nurmagomedov took Thiago Moisés to the deepest of waters and finished him off with a suffocating rear-naked choke in the fourth round. This performance showed that Makhachev can handle himself should the fight delve into the championship rounds.

Once the event concluded, Makhachev had a bouquet of callouts in his back pocket, including Tony Ferguson, Rafael dos Anjos, and Michael Chandler. After Makhachev’s impressive showing, CityKickboxing’s Dan Hooker recognized the strong performance but explained that ranked fighters, especially the top 5, won’t be calling his name anytime soon.

“He’s on a good streak at the moment, but I believe he’s been knocked out in the UFC before. So then him copying Khabib’s homework and saying all this wild stuff when you’ve been laid flat in the octagon, it doesn’t really have the same ring to it as an undefeated fighter. He just beat number 15. And then guys in the top five are supposed to be howling his name and taking the fight?” Dan Hooker said to Submission Radio.

Fear Factor?

Islam Makhachev
Islam Makhachev, Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Realistically, because Makhachev only took out the #15-ranked lightweight, “The Hangman” is emboldened in his belief that the Russian still has some work to do before he can face off with a top 5 UFC lightweight.

“….It just doesn’t make sense for those guys to go out there with the notation that everyone’s afraid of them. I truly believe like no one in that top 15 is afraid to fight anyone else in the top 15. It just doesn’t make sense. Everyone is afraid of someone? You watch them get the belt and then no one turns a fight down. Everyone’s positioning themselves to be champion, and that’s just what it is. So, the notion that fighters are afraid of another fighter is just silly. And if you believe that, I think you’re just a little bit gullible.”

The idea that fellow UFC fighters are afraid to fight Islam Makhachev doesn’t jive right with Dan Hooker. Fighters are contracted professionally to fight each other so the notion of being scared doesn’t hold much water. in his eyes. The New Zealand native also pointed to Makhachev’s second Octagon appearance, where he lost by knockout to Adriano Martins.

Interestingly, the same night Makhachev lost by knockout was the same night his teammate and former double champ Daniel Cormier fought Alexander Gustafsson for the vacant light heavyweight strap.

Hooker is ranked #8 at lightweight as of this writing, with Makhachev ranked at #9. We all know matchmaking is a fickle process, but fans can expect some lightweight fight announcements soon.

Would you like to see Dan Hooker and Islam Makhachev fight in the Octagon?

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