Friday, December 9, 2022

Dan Hooker: I’d Love To Throw Down With The Korean Zombie

Dan Hooker has revealed his desire to trade leather with featherweight contender “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung if he returns to 145 pounds in 2022.

Hooker arrived on MMA’s biggest stage as a featherweight. After losses to Maximo Blanco, Jason Knight, and Yair Rodriguez left him 3-3 in the division, “The Hangman” made the move up to lightweight. Finding more success, Hooker defeated Marc Diakiese, Jim Miller, Gilbert Burns, James Vick, Al Iaquinta, and Paul Felder on his way to building a 7-1 record at 155 pounds.

But since his main event win over “The Irish dragon” last February, Hooker has lost three times and had his hand raised just once. After a Fight of the Night setback against current number one contender Dustin Poirier, the New Zealander was finished for only the second time in his UFC career when he welcomed Michael Chandler to the UFC in January this year.

Despite rebounding against Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266, Hooker fell to defeat yet again in a short-notice assignment against surging Dagestani Islam Makhachev last month.

Hooker Looks To Reignite His Career At Featherweight

Having lost to three of the current lightweight top five in the past year-and-a-half, Hooker believes he’s facing a long wait for the division’s landscape to change before he can contend again at 155 pounds. With that in mind, the 31-year-old is looking to return to his old stomping ground.

After teasing the move with evidence of a successful weight cut test on Twitter, Hooker confirmed his intention to fight at 145 pounds again during an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour. Explaining why lightweight isn’t the right home for him anymore, “The Hangman” suggested a return to featherweight would represent an “exciting” fresh start.

“It excites me. Let’s just say that. That comes with pretty much every decision that I have ever made when it comes to fighting. I do what excites me. I fight and train because I love it, but getting out there and competing is how I entertain myself. I do this for fun… I do whatever is the most exciting to me. A move down to featherweight, back to featherweight, to me, is exciting. There’s a lot of exciting guys down there that I’d love to get into the Octagon with. It’s a fresh start.”

When asked which “exciting guys” he’s got his eye on for when he commits to the weight drop, Hooker identified “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung as his ideal opponent.

“I’ve had a quick look at the (roster). The head and shoulders, like the number one guy that I would love to get in there with would be The Korean Zombie. I would love to throw down with the Zombie… I feel like you just let the people decide. Whoever the people wanna see me in there against, will kind of convince the UFC. What everyone wants, everyone can get. But for me, it would be, head and shoulders, The Korean Zombie.”

Like Dan Hooker, “The Korean Zombie” is regarded as one of the most entertaining an durable fighters in the UFC. The former title challenger has earned eight post-fight bonuses, and boasts victories over Dustin Poirier, Renato Moicano, and Frankie Edgar. The 34-year-old recently returned to the win column with a decision triumph over Dan Ige at UFC Vegas 29.

Given that Hooker is the leading candidate for “The New Zealand Zombie” title, this matchup could provide fireworks, knockdowns, blood, and just about everything you’d want from a fight.

Would you like to see Dan Hooker return to featherweight and face The Korean Zombie?

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