Michael Chandler: Dan Hooker Wasn’t On The Radar

Michael Chandler admits he wasn’t eyeing a bout with Dan Hooker for his UFC debut.

Chandler vs. Hooker has been revealed for UFC 257. The lightweight clash will be a part of an event headlined by the rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. It’ll be the first time Chandler has a bout outside of Bellator since May 2010.

Chandler spoke to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and said he wasn’t eyeing a clash with Hooker due to his place in the rankings (via MMAJunkie.com).

“Here’s what I would say: Dan Hooker wasn’t on the radar, or the highest run of the radar, mainly because of the pecking order of the UFC’s rankings.

“Obviously, when I came in, the UFC wanted to give me a test right away – throwing around names like (Tony) Ferguson, like (Dustin) Poirier, and (Charles) Oliveira, who are No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the division. Obviously, aside from Khabib (Nurmagomedov), because he’s semi-retired right now, we’re not sure what he’s doing yet. But these were the names that they were trying to get me booked against, so it wasn’t that Dan Hooker wasn’t a formidable opponent.”

Chandler was put in place as a backup for the main event of UFC 254 in case something went awry with Khabib Nurmagomedov or Justin Gaethje. The bout ended up taking place as planned and Chandler wasn’t needed.

Hooker’s last bout was a Fight of the Year candidate. “The Hangman” went the distance with Dustin Poirier in a losing effort. Hooker holds the number six spot on the official UFC lightweight rankings.

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