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Dan Hooker confident against Makhachev entering UFC 267: ‘He ain’t Superman’

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

Dan Hooker is looking to take full advantage of his short notice matchup with Islam Makhachev at UFC 267 later this month. The fighter known as “Hangman” is aiming to pull off an upset over the surging Russian lightweight contender and prove that he’s a legitimate title threat himself.

Hooker, who is coming off a decision win over Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266 last month, will be filling in for former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in his matchup against Makhachev. While Hooker has shown to be one of the most dangerous fighters at 155 pounds he will be a massive underdog entering UFC 267.

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CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLEHEADER! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the world famous Madison Square Garden in New York City with a compelling pair of world championship rematches on Sat., Nov. 6, 2021. Headlining UFC 268’s blockbuster pay-per-view (PPV) will be Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman as he looks to defend his title once again against arch enemy and No. 1-ranked contender, Colby Covington. The co-main event will see UFC women’s Strawweight queenpin, Rose Najamunas, aim to make it two in a row against former champion and No. 1-seeded contender, Zhang Weili.

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But Hooker is a fighter who cashes in when it matters most, which is why “Hangman” is extremely confident entering his bout with Makhachev. While most believe Makhachev’s pressure and momentum will be too much for Hooker to handle the New Zealand fighter doesn’t believe Makhachev is this untouchable force that people are making him out to be.

“I’m not convinced. If they’re just doing this to kinda construct some mentality in him that he’s indestructible… I’m not buying it,” said Hooker during a recent media scrum. “I don’t buy it. He puts his pants on like I put my pants on in the morning.

“He ain’t Superman. I’m very confident.”

Hooker, 31, has hit a bit of a snag after winning three-straight from 2019-2020. He has lost two out of his last three Octagon appearances and is hoping to silence his doubters later this month in Abu Dhabi.

“I feel like that above, like, snatching his neck or catching him with a knee would make me feel better on the inside, give me a warm feeling in my belly,” he said.

“That would really shut everyone up, if I just got in there and outclass him. Then what’s everyone gonna say? And prove where your grappling lies in the division and make him look a bit silly. That’s my intention and my plan for the fight.”

One of the biggest disadvantages for Hooker will play out on the ground. Makhachev is one of the very best wrestlers in the lightweight division today. While Hooker showed improved grappling in his matchup with Haqparast he will still have to prove himself in close quarters against the Russian.

“That’s the only way he’s gonna beat me is by decision. I feel like he’s gonna try and hold me down for two rounds. That would be their plan coming into the fight. He’s not a big ground-and-pound guy. He’s not, like, a real slick submission specialist.

“He’s more like pressuring guys and tiring them out and forcing them to give up a submission. As opposed to being like a Charles Oliveira, like a real slick submission specialist that throws up all these different submission attempts and catches guys.

“They can say whatever they want to say, but I know full well they respect my skills. Without a doubt.”


For more UFC 267 fight card news click here.