Hooker Reflects On Poirier Loss, Names Two Men He Wants To Fight Next

The number five ranked UFC lightweight Dan Hooker, didn’t drop any places in the latest UFC rankings despite his loss to Dustin Poirier in a Fight of the Year candidate at UFC Vegas 4 last weekend. Although he won the first two rounds on the judges’ scorecards, the 30-year-old was unable to keep the same consistency in the next three, which was when ‘The Diamond’ took over and got the unanimous decision win.

Speaking to Submission Radio (transcription by MMA Junkie), Hooker explained how he got carried away during the fight, in which both athletes have suffered a great deal of damage.

“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. He’s a fun guy to fight. Like, he’s talking to his corner, he’s talking to you, I started talking back. Like, it just got carried away. I got carried away having too much bloody fun.”

Hooker gave big props to Poirier for his defensive grappling skills, and reflected on one particular escape his opponent used to get out of the bad position.

“He was pretty slippery, to be honest. I can hold onto most people fairly well, but he was real elusive in the grappling,” he said. “I was quite [surprised]. I had to tip my hat to him a couple of times. One of them, I got him down, and he did this real cool escape where he just butt-scooted, and then I had both his heels, and I was kinda getting ready to pass, and then he just bellied down and pulled out.

“I was just like, ‘Oh.’ Had to give him a little bow there. I was like, ‘That was sharp.’ So, just a few things, man. There’s a reason why he’s one of the best fighters in the world. I deserve to be in there with him. I thought it was a good fight.”

Although nobody could argue that it wasn’t an exciting fight for the fans, Hooker is considering implementing a different fighting style in the future, after the conversation with his head coach, City Kickboxing’s Eugene Bareman.

“I said that to Eugene when we got to the hospital after the fight, I said, ‘(expletive), I’ve got a hard head.’ And he’s like, ‘Didn’t you already know that?’ He’s like, ‘Did you have to check that again and not realize that by now?’ I’m done. I’m done. I’ve realized it now, from now on, we’re fighting smart. Starting from now.”

Poirier was a bit confrontational at the end of the fight due to some things that were said prior to the event, but Hooker explained that they made things right very quickly.

“It was funny because I was spent, I used all my energy in the fight, and then he comes over and he starts jawing at me. He starts being like, ‘Oh, yeah, so you’re gonna fight Gaethje next? Oh yeah, you’re gonna smash my face in?’ And then I was just like, ‘Ah.’ So I had to stand up and I got in his face.

“I got up, got in his face, and then he [said], ‘It’s all good, it’s all good.”

On returning to his home country of New Zealand, Hooker is having to be quarantined for two weeks due to the coronavirus threats, which is giving him plenty of time to think about the future plans.

“I’ve got my eyes on who I want to fight next, and I think it’s either gonna be Tony or it’s gonna be Oliveira. I think either one of those fights is another main event,” Hooker said. “But then, Oliveira, he’s getting carried away calling out Poirier and calling out Conor [McGregor], and he’s beating around the bush, trying to say anyone except me or Tony.

“He’s a funny guy. But yeah, I’ll have to wait and see, because obviously Tony makes way more sense for me. But if I have to go back and then solidify my place in the top five, I’m happy to do that. I just want to fight and I want to fight before the end of the year, and either of those two names makes sense for me.”

Who would you like to see Dan Hooker fight next?

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