What’s Next For Dan Hooker Following Loss To Dustin Poirier At UFC On ESPN 12?

When it was announced that Dustin Poirier would face off against Dan Hooker, MMA fans around the world were excited for the clash between two tough lightweights. It appears that Hooker was as well, as he was fully in the moment at UFC on ESPN 12.

“Yeah, it was a bit of fun. Now I know what (Justin) Gaethje was on about when he was like, ‘I was having too much fun fighting Dustin.’ Like, he just got carried away,” Hooker stated to Submission Radio. “He’s a fun guy to fight; he’s talking to his corner, he’s talking to you, I started talking back. It just got carried away. I got carried away having too much bloody fun.”

Inside the UFC’s APEX Center, Hooker (20-9) and Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) engaged in a war against one another. For five rounds, the two would do nothing but hurt each other. Poirier landed 222 shots while Hooker landed 182 in the bout. Both hit head shots that would have taken any mortal man down. In the end, Poirier ended up getting the unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-46) win.

Both exchanged ground submission attempts in the middle of their brawl, but neither could fully keep their hold on the opponent. Hooker reflected on that as he looked back at the fight.

“He was pretty slippery, to be honest. I can hold onto most people fairly well, but he was elusive in the grappling… I had to tip my hat to him a couple of times,” Hooker said. “I got him down, and he did this really cool escape where he just butt-scooted, and then I had both his heels, and I was kind of getting ready to pass. Then he just bellied down and pulled out. Had to give him a little bow there.”

As a result of the loss, Hooker ‘s three-fight win streak was snapped. He is now 3-2 in his last five fights and has won fight bonuses during three of them. Following the bout, he returned home to New Zealand where he must quarantine on his own for two weeks. He ended up showing a picture of him and his daughter social distancing as he was healing from his injuries.

 

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So close and yet so far! #familyovereverything

A post shared by Dan “Hangman” Hooker (@danhangman) on

For Poirier, he may be closer to another title opportunity against Khabib Nurmagomedov. As far as Hooker is concerned, he is ranked fifth in the UFC’s lightweight rankings. Hooker has an interest in fighting those within the top ten.

“I’ve got my eyes on who I wan to fight next,” Hooker went on to say. “I think it’s either going to be Tony (Ferguson) or it’s going to be (Charles) Oliveira. I think either one of those fights is another main event. But then, Oliviera, he’s getting carried away calling out Poirier and calling out Conor (McGregor). He’s beating around the bush, trying to say anyone except me or Tony.”

Oliveira (29-8, 1 NC) is ranked sixth in the lightweight rankings. He is on a seven-fight win streak dating back to 2018. After fighting three times in 2019, “Do Bronx” fought Kevin Lee back in March. In the last UFC event before the coronavirus took over the MMA world, Oliveira submitted Lee with a guillotine choke.

Ferguson (25-4) had his twelve-fight win streak snapped by Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in May. In Jacksonville, Gaethje won via TKO after outstriking the former interim champion.

“Tony makes way more sense for me,” said Hooker. “If I have to go back and then solidify my place in the top five, I’m happy to do it. I just want to fight and I want to fight before the end of the year. Either of those two names makes sense for me.”

Neither Ferguson nor Oliveira has scheduled opponents as of now.

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