UFC – Felder On Hooker: I’m Invading His Country To Knock His Ass Out

In the last month, the UFC has announced some huge fights for the first quarter of 2020. And perhaps one of the most exciting fights announced was the UFC Auckland main event between Paul Felder and Dan Hooker. Two of the toughest guys on the UFC roster.

Ahead of the February 23rd showdown between the two lightweights, Felder travelled to New Zealand last week for a stare down with Hooker. And it was one of the most intense stare downs we’ve seen in a while.

Speaking to MMA Junkie, Felder opened up about the intense stare down.

“As far as intensity, that was real. I went down to New Zealand expecting a little bit of that from Dan because of how we interacted on social media. We kind of went back-to-forth a little bit. But that’s what it’s all about. We’re two guys that are trying to rally for a title shot after this one. We’re in each other’s way. That’s how it should be, that’s how it’s supposed to be when you’ve got a five-round main event with a guy.

“I’m invading into his country. My whole plan is to knock his ass out in front of all his friends and family and take that money and get out of there and go on to a title shot.”

After beating Edson Barboza at UFC 242, Felder told the UFC that his next fight needs to be a main event or a top five opponent. So the 34 year old was more than happy to get the number seven ranked Hooker, who is coming off an impressive win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 243, in what will be his first ever UFC main event.

“I either wanted a really high ranked opponent or I wanted a main event. I made that really clear to my manager, to Sean Shelby, to Dana White that, ‘Look, this is what I want.’ For some reason it seemed Dana was a little reluctant to give me that shot, to kind of give me that chance to step in there. I don’t know what it is about my style that is any question you wouldn’t want to have in a five-round fight.

“They finally trusted me, they gave me that opportunity and they gave me that shot. That’s what I want. I didn’t care that Dan’s the one ranked behind me, that stuff doesn’t matter. He’s been on an absolute killing streak right now. So if I take him out, that just sets me up for one more fight potentially until fighting for the belt.”

Felder states that although there is bad blood between the two, it is only because they are both standing in each other’s way at a run at the title.

“We got some bad blood right now. Obviously I’m trying to hurt this man. He’s trying to hurt me. But I respect his skillset, I know what he offers, I know what he brings to the table and he knows, based on that stare down, he knows what I’m coming with, too. He knows what he’s in for.”

Who do you think will get their hand raised at UFC Auckland, Paul Felder or Dan Hooker?


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