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Dan Hooker details UFC 267 booking against Makhachev, says UFC offered up more money

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UFC 266: Hooker v Haqparast Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Dan Hooker is quickly becoming one of the biggest fan favorites in the sport of MMA today. After battling through visa issues for his eventual win over Nasrat Haqparast last weekend UFC 266 “The Hangman” has stepped up on short notice to fight lightweight phenom Islam Makhachev at UFC 267 on Oct. 30 in Abu Dhabi.

Makhachev, who has won his last eight trips to the Octagon and reminds many of Khabib Nurmagomedov, was originally expected to fight former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. An injury knocked RDA out of the fight earlier this week allowing Hooker to step up, play company man, and take his shot at one of the toughest outs in the division.

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CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 11, 2021, with two thrilling world championship fights and a Bantamweight banger guaranteed to deliver fireworks. Lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira, will go for his first successful title defense when he takes on No. 1-ranked contender, Dustin Poirier, in the ESPN+streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event. In UFC 269’s co-headliner, the greatest women’s fighter of all time, Amanda Nunes, defends her 135-pound crown against gritty No. 5-ranked Julianna Pena, while No. 15-seeded Bantamweight contender, Raulian Paiva, and Contender Series star, Sean O’Malley, aim to steal the show.

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“I knew that RDA had pulled out after my fight, and I could feel there was no one else,” Hooker told The Mac Life. “Tony Ferguson is being Tony Ferguson, Beneil (Dariush) is signed to Ali (Abdelaziz), as well – I didn’t think he would take the fight, either. So I knew I was the only real option. They called me up, and I’m a happy man. I’ll see you in Abu Dhabi.”

Luckily for Hooker, UFC is offering up some extra money for the short-notice fight. After all, Hooker was scheduled to fly back to New Zealand following his decision win over Haqparast at UFC 266 before filling in for RDA. The extended time away from New Zealand has left Hooker in a state of limbo when it comes to returning home, but he’s satisfied with what UFC has offered for his services.

“Now it’s indefinite,” Hooker said about returning to New Zealand. “It’s not like stupid money (the UFC is paying him). It’s money to justify what they’re asking me to do. They’re asking me to pretty much leave my country and so with that, I need enough to set up a life here for however long, because there are Kiwis that have been stuck in New Zealand for a couple of years now. So it’s all well and good being like, ‘Yeah, I’ll take the risk,’ but not being able to go home for a couple of years, that’s daunting to a lot of people.”

Hooker, who is 1-2 in his last three UFC appearances, is already a massive betting underdog against Makhachev. It’s going to be a tough test for “Hangman,” especially on a few weeks notice, but Hooker is one of the most game fighters on the UFC roster today. He’s also one of the most well-rounded fighters Makhachev has ever faced.

“He’s got a bit of the Khabib mystique, it’s rubbed off on him,” Hooker said. “His last few performances have been like fairly dominant. I’ve trained with Drew, and the way he fought Drew was pretty decisive. Even his last fight, he came out there, and it was a pretty dominant fight. There’s definite skill there, but I would love to be the first one to get out there and just make him look human, because I know we all are.”

“I’ve been in the gym with these guys,” he continued. “They all bleed, they all get tired, they all get injured, they all get hurt, and I know I can put anyone’s light’s out. So to everyone else, he’s kind of a mysterious character that’s got a lot of mystique and invincibility. To me, he’s just another body.”


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