Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Hooker On Makhachev Fight: I Know Something They Don’t Know

UFC lightweight Dan Hooker is relishing the chance to prove his doubters wrong against Islam Makhachev, believing he “knows something they don’t.”

Hooker has long been known as an always-game, always-entertaining, and always-tough contender. That reputation has only been enhanced across the last couple of months. “The Hangman” first drew praise from all corners of the MMA community for his journey to the cage at UFC 266 last month.

After battling New Zealand’s stringent lockdown restrictions, which prevented him from training with his teammates or in his own empty gym, Hooker’s September 25 matchup hit another roadblock after he struggled to secure a US visa. Eventually, the 31-year-old made it to las Vegas with just one day to make weight. The fact he completed that only amplifies the criticism the likes of Paulo Costa will receive for their weight mishaps.

After delivering a mature and intelligent performance against Nasrat Haqparast inside the T-Mobile Arena, Hooker found himself signing on for another fight just days later. Following the withdrawal of Rafael dos Anjos, Makhachev was left without an opponent for October 30. With little hesitation, “The Hangman” stepped up and will face the #5-ranked lightweight at UFC 267 this weekend.

Hooker Expects To Shock The World

Whilst Hooker and Makhachev have refrained from any sort of trash talk, the build-up to their contest has largely centered around people from the Dagestani’s close circle downplaying the threat the New Zealander poses to their man. Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev’s friend and teammate, even suggested Hooker’s only path to victory is a “lucky punch.”

Having previously rejected their dismissal of his abilities inside the cage, Hooker has once again laughed off those doubting him ahead of this Saturday’s non-pay-per-view numbered event.

Whilst many were surprised to see him agree to face a grappling specialist, Hooker recently revealed in an interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto that he has no issue fighting a talented wrestler. He even suggested he’d have done it more across his UFC career had the promotion been willing to match him up with one.

“It’s just as intriguing to me, it’s just as exciting to me to get out there with a specialist. I haven’t been matched up with these guys, not from my choice. It’s not like I’ve ever turned down a wrestler, it’s not like I’ve ever turned down a grappling specialist. It’s just the UFC doesn’t give them to me. They see that I’m an exciting guy, so they obviously match us with other guys who are gonna go out there and put on entertaining matchups.”

Hooker added that he’s just as excited to be facing a fighter like Makhachev than he has been in the past when facing top strikers like Dustin Poirier and Paul Felder. For the #6-ranked lightweight, the chance to “neutralize” the threat of the Dagestani, especially given his superior perception, is a mouth-watering prospect.

“For me personally, this is just as an intriguing matchup as a guy who’s gonna go out there and stand and trade, and brawl, and this and that. To me, I’m more a martial arts purist. So this really intrigues me; to go out there and stifle, to neutralize a specialist. That’s an exciting matchup.”

Discussing his heavy underdog status heading into Saturday’s main card fight, Hooker suggested he’s always had a chip on his shoulder. Like usual, he expects to use it to his advantage come fight night. According to Hooker, his confidence derives from the fact he knows something most aren’t aware of.

“I’ve always got a chip on my shoulder. I use that in every fight… I just use that to motivate me. I’ve made a good living off of the chip on my shoulder… I love the chip on my shoulder. It gets me out of bed in the morning, it motivates me, it excites me.

“I feel this week that I know something. That’s why you always see me smiling and laughing. It’s because I know something that they don’t know. That’s how I feel this week. I feel like I know something that a lot of other people don’t know.”

Do you think Dan Hooker will stop the title charge of Islam Makhachev at UFC 267?

Thanks for visiting MMANews.com, a leading source for MMA News since 2002.
Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google News.

Trending Articles

More Top Stories