Dan Hooker
The Hangman

New Zealand

Dominates Al Iaquinta at UFC 243
October 5, 2019
Hooker defeated Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) at UFC 243 on Saturday in Melbourne, Australia.
Iaquinta is a quality, quality opponent, and Hooker made him look like nothing more than roster depth. Armed with a size, length, and power advantage, Hooker stood at distance and picked Iaquinta apart with strikes. When his opponent did try to close the space between the two, Hooker shrugged him off and controlled the ground exchanges between the two men. Hooker was credited with 71 total strikes landed compared to just 71 from Iaquinta. Outside of one poor performance against Edson Barboza last December, Hooker has been untouchable for the better part of the past three years. In his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier, Hooker asked for/demanded a 2020 fight against Dustin Poirier. Sounds good to us.
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Finds next opponent
August 21, 2019
Hooker is scheduled to fight Al Iaquinta in a lightweight matchup at UFC 243 in New Zealand on October 6.
Hooker will surely be full of confidence, coming off a first-round knockout of James Vick at UFC San Antonio to make it five wins in his last six trips to the cage. The fight solidified himself back in the lightweight rankings, and will be going for his 19th professional win Oct. 6. His opponent got his face and nose broken last time out by Donald Cerrone and will be looking to bounce back after gaining medical clearance to fight in the October bout. Hooker owns slightly better volume striking numbers than "Ragin Al," but tends to absorb more punishment en route to landing his own offense. Both have respectable wrestling game, but this one appears likely to play out on the feet. Hooker -- the younger fighter -- will be two inches taller with a five-inch reach advantage on fight night.
First KO of the night
July 20, 2019
Hooker defeated James Vick via KO (punches) at 2:33 of Round 1 at UFC San Antonio on Saturday.
Hooker and Vick traded calf kicks early in a feeling out process, but it was a beautiful sequence by Hooker that ended the fight. He faked a right hook and came around with a left hand that knocked down the unsuspecting Vick. From there, he pounced a rattled Vick on the ground and finished the job. It's been nearly seven months on the shelf for Hooker, but he likely just catapulted himself right back into the lightweight rankings. At the very least, he'll take home a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for his efforts.
Slated to fight James Vick
June 3, 2019
Hooker (17-4) will fight James Vick in a lightweight bout at UFC San Antonio on July 20, Alexander K. Lee of MMAFighting.com reports.
Hooker was in the midst of a four-fight winning streak before losing via third-round KO to Edson Barboza at UFC on Fox 31 in December. His opponent, Vick, is also looking to get back in the win column after dropping each of his last two fights. Vick will enter the cage as the taller man, but Hooker has a roughly equivalent reach, which isn't all that common for Vick's opponents. Both men average more than 4.0 significant strikes landed per minute, though Hooker absorbs a bit more punishment on average. Neither offers up much in terms of offensive wrestling.
Sees momentum halted in loss
December 15, 2018
Hooker lost to Edson Barboza via KO (punch to the body) at 2:19 of Round 3 at UFC on Fox 31 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Saturday.
Hooker initially seemed to be holding his own with Barboza but a lack of pressure allowed "Junior" to land his patented leg kicks to devastating effect, leaving Hooker compromised by Round 2. Hooker deserves all the credit in the world for toughness, as he never stopped fighting, but he was essentially a sitting duck for Barboza, who teed off with body and head shots before closing the show in the final frame. Hooker was looking like the next big thing at lightweight after rattling off a four-fight winning streak, and while it's not quite fair to say he has lost his status as a contender, it's worth noting that several fighters ranked ahead of Hooker already have wins over Barboza. He falls to 17-8 in professional MMA as a result of the loss.
To fight Edson Barboza in December
September 5, 2018
Hooker added a fight against Edson Barboza in Milwaukee for UFC on FOX 31 on Dec. 15, Peter Carroll of MMAFighting.com reports.
Hooker is coming off four-straight victories since shifting to lightweight last summer, including his most recent win versus Gilbert Burns at UFC 226 in Las Vegas. He will get the chance to take on Barboza, who enters this bout having lost his past two fights after starting his career 19-4. Despite back-to-back losses (against top contenders), Barboza remains undoubtedly one of the top-10 contenders in a deep lightweight division, and should enter as a betting favorite. In addition to incomparable experience in the Octagon, Barboza owns statistical advantages in both takedown defense and striking defense. The two men have identical striking differentials (-0.36), though Barboza has faced far superior strikers during his time with the promotion.