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Michael Chandler set for debut against Dan Hooker at UFC 257

Michael Chandler was a substitute for UFC 254: Khabib v Gaethje
Michael Chandler was a substitute for UFC 254: Khabib v Gaethje
ANALYST
Modified 23 Dec 2020, 05:34 IST
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Dan Hooker is set to make his next UFC fight against highly-praised newcomer Michael Chandler. The former Bellator lightweight champion joined the UFC earlier in the year but is yet to make his first appearance for the promotion.

According to a journalist from New Zealand, where Hooker comes from, both parties have already agreed on the contract, and the bout is expected to be announced soon.

"I understand [that] both camps have already agreed to the bout and are now in training, with a formal announcement expected in the coming days confirming the blockbuster bout," wrote Jackson Thomas for Stuff NZ.

Chandler's debut is now expected to occur in the same event that will see the long-awaited return of Conor McGregor to the Octagon after his last fight in January. UFC 257: McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier will occur on January 23, 2020.

Another bout with Michael Chandler facing Justin Gaethje was being studied to serve as the substitute fight for UFC 257. That was if McGregor or Poirier couldn't make it due to the coronavirus pandemic or failing the weight cut.

Earlier this year, Michael Chandler refused to fight Tony Ferguson after he had gone through all of the weight cut process to serve as the backup in the UFC 254 title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje in Fight Island.

"He just cut weight in Abu Dhabi, so he couldn't do it. You know how and what we do. We all make fights. These fights will happen, and let's see what's next for Chandler," said UFC president Dana White.

Ferguson ended up being matched up with Charles Oliveira in a fight where he was completely dominated and defeated by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu master.

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Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker

Michael Chandler is a former three-time Bellator lightweight champion. He joined the UFC earlier this year and has been ranked among the lightweight division's top contenders.

Since Khabib Nurmagomedov retired and left the UFC lightweight title vacant, numerous possibilities have opened for the next title fight. Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker are two of the names being linked as possible challengers.

The path for Hooker might be a bit more difficult since he lost his last fight to direct contender Dustin Poirier. But if the two perform in the same event, it could be another chance to compare Hooker's skills against the other top-ranked fighters in the division.

Conor McGregor and Charles Oliveira are other consolidated choices for the title shot. But after an impressive display against Tony Ferguson, it is the Brazilian that has cemented his intentions of being the next UFC lightweight champion. If McGregor beats Poirier, about between the two is the most likely to happen.

Chandler, Poirier, Hooker, McGregor, or Oliveira... who do you think will be the next UFC lightweight champion? Sound off in the comments.

Published 23 Dec 2020, 05:34 IST
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