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Dan Hooker is ‘showing up for a payday,’ says Islam Makhachev’s manager

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Ali Abdelaziz thinks a lucky punch is Dan Hooker’s only chance to win at UFC 267.

UFC 266: Dan Hooker vs Islam Makhachev MMA News Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Islam Makhachev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, says Dan Hooker is only looking to cash a check at UFC 267.

Hooker (No. 6) agreed to step in on short notice to fight Makhachev (No. 5) at UFC 267: “Blachowicz vs. Teixeira,” which will take place inside Etihad Arena at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates later this month (Sat., Oct. 30, 2021). In a new interview, Abdelaziz argued that Hooker knows his only route to victory is a lucky punch.

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“Much respect to Hooker, they can say whatever they want. He’s showing up for a payday, and I respect Hooker a lot. He’s a nice guy. I respect him as a fighter, too, but he can say whatever he wants, his coaches can say whatever they want, he’s getting paid to show up,” Abdelaziz told MMA Junkie. “The only way he can win is a lucky punch. Islam beats people every second of a fight. Islam is never vulnerable in a fight. People are going to say, ‘Oh, he’s boring, he’s this, he’s that.’ They said this about Khabib for a long time. Khabib is pound-for-pound the greatest fighter to ever live on this planet.”

Abdelaziz claimed that Makhachev, a ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight, could beat up former UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, and former UFC Middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold.

“It seems like people are more interested in this fight than Rafael dos Anjos fight, and Rafael is a former champion. I don’t know why, but listen, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who you’re gonna put in there. If I have to rank Islam today in the pound-for-pound list, I promise you he’s top five pound-for-pound,” he expressed. “I believe he will be one of the greatest UFC fighters we’ve ever seen. I’ve been training with Islam for seven years. I see him beating DC (Daniel Cormier) around, beating Luke (Rockhold), giving Khabib his toughest rounds.

“I believe he’s something special. I believe he’s destined to be a world champion, and people can say whatever they want about him. They know in their heart and soul that he’s the toughest fight they can ever get.”


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