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The UFC needs Dan Hooker to beat Dustin Poirier

  • In an explosive lightweight fight, the UFC needs one to win more than the other.
  • If Dan Hooker is victorious Saturday, the world becomes his oyster.
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 25 Jun 2020, 04:34 IST
Media Session with Dan Hooker
Media Session with Dan Hooker

Saturday night will be the last of The Apex cards for a quick minute. And the main event is at least on paper a true old school barn burner. Neither Dan Hooker nor Dustin Poirier believes in taking a backward step.

That makes this fight one that probably won't go to the judges' scorecards. Both Dan Hooker and Dustin Poirier are fan favorites. And for a multitude of reasons, both inside and outside of the cage. It happens every once in a while where there is no inherent "heel" involved. However, as of late via social media "The Hangman" has taken some shots at Poirier.

For obvious reasons, the UFC can't come out in favor of one fighter over another. But in this battle, the powers that be in the organization have a fighter they'd rather see victorious. Usually, they'd like to see the young upcoming fighter take out the older one. It's the circle of life. But here only 14 months separate the 2 so that's not the case.

Even with a loss; there are many paths for "The Diamond". Rematches against Conor McGregor, and Anthony Pettis; who wants to run it back are always out there. There's a possible change of divisions for him as well. He could be the next to try for some success moving up. There, the 1st target is lit up like a Christmas Tree for him, in ex-teammate Colby Covington. Or maybe even a run at the 145 strap.

Should Dustin win, he has to be put back into the lightweight title conversation. But he most recently was worked over by Khabib Nurmagomedov. And that is not a fight that many are clamoring for. If he winds up facing Justin Gaethje again, sure it's a fun fight; but this is a different Justin right now. More complete, more precise, more calculating.

This is why you won't be told, but Dan Hooker is who the company needs to win this fight. Dan Hooker brings new fresh challenges. Poirier is Dan Hooker's toughest fight yet, without a doubt. So if he gets his hand raised, the flood gates open. Conor and Tony Ferguson are on his doorstep. Then the Khabib-Gaethje winner. Or even the loser first.

They'd also want him to win for the marketing. City Kickboxing would be the UFC's version of the little engine that could. It's not some big powerhouse American Gym, with a long storied history of champions. But right now they have the middleweight crown with Israel Adesanya, and the featherweight strap around Alexander Volkanovski's waist. The marketing for a small New Zealand Gym with 3 of the most sought after titles (providing Dan can snatch it) would be insane.

Add to the fact that the company want's to head back to Australia once the travel restrictions loosen up. And you can have all three; Israel, Alexander, and Dan Hookeron that card. Two defending titles, and possibly the 3rd going for a belt, or a 1st defense.

With Dan Hooker on a 3 fight win streak and the last 2 coming via decision, he's proven he more than belongs. But he does have some holes that Dustin might expose, such as leaving his chin out in the open at times. Poirier's as workmanlike as they come and the 31-year-old is far from done, but he may start to slide into the Cowboy Cerrone role. Which by the way is another scrap that can happen after a loss.

So for Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard's life to be a little easier, it'll come with a Dan Hooker victory. This is the time in this young warrior's life where he'll get to see just how he fares with the sharks in the deep end of the pool.

Published 25 Jun 2020, 04:34 IST
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