Friday, May 20, 2022

Hooker Explains Why Johnson/Rodtang Special-Rules Fight Was “Silly”

UFC veteran Dan Hooker has detailed why he believes that the special-rules fight between Demetrious Johnson and Rodtang Jitmuangnon was “silly.”

March saw ONE Championship host its 10-year anniversary extravaganza, ONE X, live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The event, which spanned well over nine hours, featured 20 fights that were split across three cards, Part I, Part II, and the Grand Finale.

While a host of MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling bouts were on offer, there was one unique contest that drew most of the global attention. In a first-of-its-kind clash, Johnson and Rodtang collided in a mixed-rules four-round fight.

While the first and third rounds were set for Muay Thai rules, Rodtang’s wheelhouse, the second and fourth were to be fought in MMA, significantly benefiting all-time mixed martial arts great “Mighty Mouse.”

The bout certainly delivered, with the first frame seeing the Muay Thai champion chase Johnson down and throw heavy leather. But not only did the former UFC flyweight king survive, but he also landed good shots of his own. When the second round began, Johnson went to work, eventually taking Rodtang’s back and choking him out.

While the contest was undoubtedly entertaining, Hooker has questioned how it could have gone any differently given Rodtang’s grappling inexperience.

Hooker: What Did You Think Was Going To Happen?

During an episode of his weekly show with John Hyon Ko for The AllStar, Hooker discussed the possibility of Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou meeting in a special-rules match of sorts, similar to the one on display at ONE X.

Recalling Johnson and Rodtang’s Circle meeting, “The Hangman” described it as a “silly fight” and one that was always going to fall in Johnson’s favor during the first MMA round.

The New Zealander pointed out that jiu-jitsu isn’t something a striker can learn in a short space of time, especially if they’re expected to battle a legend like “Mighty Mouse” on the mat.

“Silly fight. Silly fight. Just silly. What did you think was gonna happen? He (Rodtang) doesn’t know any jiu-jitsu? [LAUGHS]” Hooker said. “This is not The Matrix, you can’t just like, download jiu-jitsu and be good at jiu-jitsu. I can understand (if) he just didn’t even bother. How are you gonna get better than Demetrious Johnson at jiu-jitsu in a couple of months? Absolutely no chance.

“I like seeing things for fun. If we’re just doing it for fun, I want the promoter to come out and just tell me it’s just for fun. Let’s get a sumo wrestler to fight a luchador, for fun. I love a bit of fun,” continued Hooker. “But let’s not sit around and pretend this is serious, like Francis Ngannou fighting Tyson Fury is like, serious, because we actually wanna see what happens… In a car crash way you wanna see what happens, not, ‘I legit wanna see who’s better.'”

Hooker went on to explain that just because he or other combat sports enthusiasts will be willing to pay for bizarre and unique fights, it doesn’t mean that they’re ‘legitimate activities’.

“Let’s just make a cage drop down from the top and then throw a bear in there. I would like to see that. If you get Francis Ngannou, Tyson Fury, and then put a cage, and put a bear in there, I would pay good money for that… But that doesn’t mean it’s a legitimate activity,” suggested Hooker.

ONE Championship recently asked fans which of its fighters they’d like to see face off in a hybrid-rules bout next. With that in mind, it seems Hooker may be witnessing a few more “silly” contests in the coming months and years.

Do you agree with Dan Hooker’s take on special-rules fights?

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