Sunday, October 17, 2021

Arman Tsarukyan Targets Hooker Or Ferguson For December Fight

UFC lightweight Arman Tsarukyan has revealed he’s targeting a December return to the Octagon against either Dan Hooker or Tony Ferguson.

Tsarukyan was in action earlier this month at UFC Vegas 37. On the main card, he recorded his first UFC finish against Christos Giagos. The #13-ranked 155-pound contender previously racked up unanimous decision victories over Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Davi Ramos, and Matt Frevola.

Having been challenged to record his first stoppage in the promotion by matchmaker Sean Shelby, Tsarukyan delivered in his last outing against “The Spartan.” After just over two minutes of the opening round, the 24-year-old finished Giagos via a TKO. With four consecutive wins since his only UFC blemish against Islam Makhachev, Tsarukyan is looking to meet a big name inside the Octagon next.

That name could well be Dan Hooker. The pair have developed quite the rivalry since the New Zealander’s quest to find an opponent for UFC 266 began. After Hooker’s clash with Nasrat Haqparast was announced, the Armenian-Russian accused “The Hangman” of ducking him in an interview with MMA News. After Hooker responded by branding him a “dumbass,” the surging lightweight revealed his desire to “kill” the #8-ranked Kiwi.

Now, following his recent victory, Tsarukyan has once again addressed his feud with Hooker in an interview with MMA News’ own James Lynch. The Georgian-born fighter first revealed what his rival had said to him in an effort to secure him as an opponent should Haqparast have been forced to pull out of UFC 266.

“He texted something like, ‘If you have balls, you gonna fight with me now.’ But he knows I had an (injury), I got injured after this fight, and I broke my ribs. That’s why he started speaking. But if he didn’t know about my injury, for sure he wouldn’t (say that).”

Speaking ahead of UFC 266, Tsarukyan added that he’d like to meet Hooker in December if he was to emerge victorious at the recent pay-per-view. Acknowledging the hype the matchup would get, Tsarukyan described Hooker as a “tough” challenge.

“I think Hooker gonna win, I hope, because I want to fight with him in December. I think he can finish Nasrat and then we gonna have fight with each other. It will be very interesting match. He’s a tough opponent, and I’m tough, too. And we had a conversation (with) each other, and I think UFC can do this part. And a lot of people know about me and him, and everyone wants to see this fight.”

After “The Hangman” returned to winning ways on Saturday with an impressive prelim performance, it seems likely we could be seeing that fight could go down in the coming months. However, Tsarukyan isn’t limiting himself to one option. He told MMA News that he’d be open to facing former interim UFC Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson as well.

“Doesn’t matter especially, but I want to fight with Tony Ferguson (in December). He’s a big name, too, and he doesn’t have fight now. And yeah, why not. I think we can do this fight. And it will be very interesting. I already said about he’s older guy, I’m youngest guy, and it will be great match. And we’ll see new performance with old school.”

While a meeting in the cage with Hooker or Ferguson would certainly be preferable, Tsarukyan also said he’d be willing to face either Gregor Gillespie or Diego Ferreira.

Catch our exclusive interview with Arman Tsarukyan following his UFC Vegas 37 win below:

Who would you like to see Arman Tsarukyan face next?

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