Dan Hooker

The Hangman

New Zealand

Moving back to lightweight
LightweightUFC
May 2, 2022
Hooker will return to the lightweight division moving forward, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Hooker made the steep cut down to featherweight (145 pounds) for his last fight against Arnold Allen in March, where he was finished in the first round. That's not something he's going to try again any time soon, as Hooker even said "I'm closer to middleweight than I am to featherweight." He had understandably wanted to switch things up after losing three of his previous four fights at 155 pounds, albeit against elite competition. Hooker doesn't have an immediate timetable for a return to the Octagon and intends to take a bit of time off, but it will be an uphill battle back to the title picture given the recent stretch of results.
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No-shows loss in London
LightweightUFC
March 19, 2022
Hooker lost to Arnold Allen via TKO (punches) at 2:33 of Round 1 at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in London.
ANALYSIS
This was probably Hooker's last chance to remain relevant in the UFC, and to say it didn't go well would be the understatement of the century. Like his fight against Islam Makhachev this past October, Hooker again appeared overwhelmed inside the Octagon, and to some extent, like he didn't want to be there. He ate dozens and dozens of unanswered strikes and would have been finished far earlier were it not for his trademark durability. Hooker looks confused and hesitant while fighting, and that's not the place you want to be with world-class competition standing across from you. Allen is really good, but Hooker's career has completely fallen apart on him in a span of about 18 months. He's 1-4 in his last five fights dating back to June 2020.
Books featherweight bout vs. Arnold Allen
LightweightUFC
January 24, 2022
Hooker (21-11-0) is scheduled to face Arnold Allen (17-1-0) in a featherweight fight set for March 19 at the UFC's event in London, Farah Hannoun of USA Today reports.
ANALYSIS
Hooker, who typically fights out of the lightweight division, will drop down to the 145-pound ranks for the first time since 2016 to take on Allen, who is a perfect 8-0 since signing with the UFC. Hooker's decision to move down a division may have been spurred by his lack of recent success; he's dropped three of his last four fights, brining his career UFC record down to 11-7.
Steamrolled by Islam Makhachev
LightweightUFC
October 30, 2021
Hooker lost to Islam Makhachev via submission (Kimura) at 2:25 of Round 1 at UFC 267 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
ANALYSIS
In reality, Hooker never had much of a chance against one of the best lightweights we have seen in recent memory. He still deserves a massive amount of credit for even accepting this fight. Hooker defeated Nasrat Haqparast in Vegas five weeks ago and agreed to stay and train before flying halfway around the world to Abu Dhabi to face Makhachev after Rafael dos Anjos, Makhachev's originally scheduled opponent, was forced to withdraw. Unfortunately for Hooker, Makhachev landed an immediate takedown and that was essentially the end of the fight right there. Few fighters in the sport today are as respected and well-liked as Hooker, but he has now lost three of four dating back to June 2020. The opposition he has faced has been elite (Makhachev, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler), but you are what your record says you are in this sport, and Hooker's record says he needs a win his next time out.
Quick turnaround at UFC 267
LightweightUFC
October 11, 2021
Hooker (foot) has agreed to face Islam Makhachev in a lightweight matchup at UFC 267 on Oct. 30 in Abu Dhabi, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Hooker recently overcame visa issues and made it to Las Vegas to face and defeat Nasrat Haqparast on Sept. 25. He emerged with a potential foot injury, but this announcement suggests he's since received the proper clearance to compete. Now looking to take another step forward in the lightweight rankings, Hooker will step in for the previously-scheduled Rafael dos Anjos to face an opponent in Makhachev who is riding an eight-fight winning streak. Many see Makhachev as a future champion, so it's no surprise to see Hooker listed as a (+350) betting underdog or greater in many places. While Hooker lands more than double the significant strikes per minute as Makhachev, the perceived deficiency here is grappling. Hooker does sport a respectable 80 percent takedown defense, but he's never faced a wrestler as adept as Makhachev who lands 3.31 takedowns per 15 minutes at an unheard of 65 percent accuracy rate.
Foot needs clearance
LightweightUFC
September 28, 2021
Hooker is facing a six-month medical suspension, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Hooker was able to defeat Nasrat Haqparast via unanimous decision last weekend. He will need to have an x-ray on his foot and if positive will need doctor clearance to be able to fight again before late March.