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5 fighters who could be next for Dan Hooker

Dan Hooker (left) and Islam Makhachev (right) (Photo credits: Dan Hooker and Islam Makhachev
Dan Hooker (left) and Islam Makhachev (right) (Photo credits: Dan Hooker and Islam Makhachev's Instagram account)
Anil Sharma
ANALYST

The last time we saw Dan Hooker in the octagon was at UFC 257. The night did not go well for 'The Hangman' as he was knocked out by Michael Chandler in the first round of the co-main event.

Since then, fans have been itching to see the New Zealander fight and as it turns out, Dan Hooker feels the same way.

In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Hooker admitted he wanted to get on the UFC 263 card, headlined by his teammate Israel Adesanya. However, according to 'The Hangman,' the UFC could not find a suitable opponent for him.

The lightweight contender is now eyeing UFC 266 for his next fight.

Here's a list of opponents who could be next for Dan Hooker:


#5 Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev has been dominating fighters in the lightweight division since his debut in 2015. The Dagestani fighter has an impressive record of 8-1 in the UFC.

It is about time that Makhachev faces a top 10 opponent for his next fight. Dan Hooker is currently ranked No.9 in the lightweight division and could be the perfect matchup for Makhachev.

The only reason that Makhachev is at the bottom of this list is that the Russian fighter already has a fight booked against Thiago Moises for July 17.


#4 Gregor Gillespie

UFC Fight Night Cejudo v Dillashaw
UFC Fight Night Cejudo v Dillashaw

After his long absence from the UFC, Gregor Gillespie made a triumphant return to the octagon in May when he defeated Carlos Diego Ferreira via TKO.

'The Gift' is considered to be one of the best grapplers in the lightweight division, and he has the numbers to prove it:

Dan Hooker has not faced an elite fighter like Gillespie in his career. 'The Gift' puts insane pace and pressure on his opponents, making a potential bout with Hooker highly intriguing to MMA fans.


#3 Rafael dos Anjos

UFC Singapore Fight Night
UFC Singapore Fight Night

Rafael dos Anjos has consistently pit himself against the toughest fighters the UFC has to offer. The Brazilian has repeatedly accepted fights that have been considered as bad matchups for him.

After his stint as a welterweight, RDA made a comeback to the lightweight division with a win over Paul Felder.

RDA is currently recovering from an injury but is itching to get back into the octagon soon. The former lightweight champion wants to put himself back in title contention, and a fight with Dan Hooker could be just what the doctor ordered.


#2 Tony Ferguson

UFC 229: Ferguson v Pettis
UFC 229: Ferguson v Pettis

Speaking to Submission Radio, Dan Hooker expressed an interest in fighting Tony Ferguson.

"Tony's just a guy that I'd love to fight. I feel the fans would love to see that fight...I feel like he's just as tough a fight as he was three fights ago...He's still unpredictable, he's still dangerous, he's still like a real venomous guy to fight." said Dan Hooker.

Tony Ferguson has been out-grappled in his last two fights against Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush. But 'El Cucuy' does not have to worry about that with Hooker. 'The Hangman' heavily relies on his striking skills to win fights. This bout could easily turn out to be a 'Fight of the Year' contender.


#1 Beneil Dariush

UFC 262: Tony Ferguson v Beneil Dariush
UFC 262: Tony Ferguson v Beneil Dariush

When asked about the fighters 'The Hangman' would like to face next, Beneil Dariush was the number one option on Dan Hooker's list.

'The Hangman' showered praise on Dariush, saying:

"I feel like Beneil's the ugly girl at the dance...I don't mean that in an offensive way...I feel like he's the most skillful guy in the division... but he doesn't have the name recognition that some of the other guys in the top five have...I did not see a single person calling out Beneil Dariush so I will put my hand up for that fight."

Dariush is on a seven-fight win streak in the lightweight division, and a win over the tough Dan Hooker could raise his stock even higher in the UFC.


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Edited by Utathya Ghosh
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