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Dana White says UFC working on Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker at Fight Island

Michael Chandler could be making his UFC debut against Dan Hooker
Michael Chandler could be making his UFC debut against Dan Hooker
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Modified 31 Dec 2020, 10:43 IST
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UFC President Dana White says that the UFC is working on a lightweight clash between former Bellator champion Michael Chandler and top-10 contender Dan Hooker.

Talking to The Schmo, White confirmed that while not yet 100% finalized, the UFC is looking at booking the lightweight clash to take place at Fight Island in January. While no official event was specified, it's likely that the fight happens at UFC 257 on January 23rd.

In the video, White reveals that they originally had Charles Oliveira in mind to welcome Michael Chandler into the UFC:

"We originally…I don’t know if this is done yet, but f*ck it. We were working on Oliveira. Oliveira couldn’t make the weight, so Chandler will be fighting Hooker."

Former three-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler was signed by the UFC back in September of 2020, but has yet to officially make his octagon debut. The closest that Chandler has gotten to a UFC fight as this point, was being named as a back-up fighter for the Khabib Nurmagomedov-Justin Gaethje lightweight title bout tat UFC 254 back in October. Since then, Chandler's name has been linked with a number of top lightweight contenders, most notably Tony Ferguson.

Hooker, meanwhile, is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Dustin Poirier back in June. The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak, and likely pushed Hooker back down a few places in the UFC's lightweight rankings. Currently, Hooker is the number 6-ranked contender in the UFC's 155-pound division.

Will a win over Dan Hooker vault Michael Chandler into the lightweight division's top-5?

Michael Chandler has yet to officially compete inside the UFC octagon, which is why he isn't in the UFC's lightweight rankings yet. Still, the former Bellator champion is already in the UFC lightweight title picture, considered as one of the favorites to challenge for the title. If Chandler can edge out Dan Hooker, will it be enough to vault him into the division's top-5?

As it stands, the fighter in the most danger of falling out of the top-5 is Tony Ferguson. Currently ranked fifth, Ferguson is coming off back-to-back defeats, and could see himself fall to sixth. If Michael Chandler can get past Dan Hooker, it's not unlikely that he slides into the number five position. The same can be said for Dan Hooker as well. If Hooker can give Chandler a rude UFC welcome, then the number-6 ranked contender could easily move into the top-5.

Published 31 Dec 2020, 10:43 IST
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