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Dan Hooker on 2 fighters who have made possible UFC Lightweight title win 'attainable'

  • Dan Hooker has entered the Top 5 UFC Lightweight Rankings.
  • He believes that the success of two major teammates makes a Lightweight title win 'attainable'
R. Nath
ANALYST
News
Modified 17 Mar 2020, 12:29 IST

UFC Fight Night Media Session
UFC Fight Night Media Session

Dan Hooker is coming off 3 straight wins, having finished James Vick and gone to decision victories over top-ranked Lightweight contenders Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder. The latter was a split decision - one where many thought that Hooker got the 'hometown nod' from the judges.

Either way, his win over Felder was enough to break him into the top 5 rankings. He's expected to face Dustin Poirier at UFC San Diego in May should the Coronavirus outbreak and lockdown end. It's going to be the toughest test of his career and it's one that many consider as a stylistic mismatch for Hooker.

The Kiwi star is looking to become the second champion from New Zealand and the fourth UFC champion from the Australian subcontinent. He trains with the likes of Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski - both of whom are Champions at 185 and 145 respectively. He told MMA Junkie’s Farah Hannoun that seeing Adesanya and Volkanovski succeed makes it an attainable goal for him:


"Now I have two teammates, I have Alex Volkanovski and Israel Adesanya, walking around the gym with world title belts, and that makes it very attainable for me,” Hooker said, following his recent split decision victory over Paul Felder at UFC Fight Night 168. “I know what I’m capable of inside the gym and my results inside of the octagon. I know that I can compete and beat the best guys in the world, so I just need the opportunity. So now, No. 5, I’m working my way towards that belt. You’re putting yourself and you’re now jockeying for position for title contention, and title contention is the next goal that I’ve set myself.”

He praised Adesanya and said that he was destined to be a World Champion and a PPV headliner. He admitted that his progression has been slower:


"Me, like I’m a realist,” he said. “Israel Adesanya is known from day one that he was going to be world champion, he’s going to be headlining pay-per-views but me, it’s whatever I can see in front of me is the next biggest goal. As I achieve those goals, I set something else in front of me, so my progression has always been incremental and very slow.”

It's a tough road ahead for Dan Hooker. The men ahead of him are Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, and the Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. It's only going to get tougher from here and even if he wins, every fight will see him take up the underdog role.

Published 17 Mar 2020, 12:29 IST
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