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Dan Hooker teases move to a new division after latest loss at lightweight

Has Islam Makhachev sent Dan Hooker packing from the 155-pound division? “Hangman” is in talks with a UFC dietician about a potential change.

UFC 267: Makhachev v Hooker Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC’s 155-pound division is an absolute shark tank. There are no easy fights in the Top 10, and if you’re not named Conor McGregor the road to a title shot can be long. The chances of getting pulped by a knockout artist or sambo slammer along the way? Very high.

Just ask New Zealand fighter Dan Hooker, whose 2021 included both in the form of losses to Michael Chandler and Islam Makhachev.

That leaves him in a not-so-great spot within the division: at risk of becoming a gatekeeper. So we shouldn’t be too surprised that he’s looking into a potential weight class move. In the latest episode of PUB TALK with the Mac Life’s Oscar Willis, a gaunt looking Hooker downs a pint and teases something ... a cut to 145? a bulk to 170? You decide!

“Doin’ a little something something at the moment,” Hooker said with a smile. “Gotta make your next move your best move. Let’s just say I’m working with the UFC and a fight dietician very closely and I’m doing a little test run and we’ll see. I’ll be able to answer every question on next week’s show.”

Hooker competed at Featherweight for the first two years of his UFC career, going 3-3 before moving to Lightweight and going 7-1 over the next three years. That run includes knockout finishes of Jim Miller, Gilbert Burns and James Vick, as well as wins over Paul Felder and Al Iaquinta.

In 2017, the six-foot tall Hooker had absolutely no interest in returning to 145 pounds.

“Let’s just put it this way, it’d take a million bucks to get me back down to featherweight,” he said. “I ain’t going back. Just, I feel like myself [at 155]. I was stepping in there at feather and I just felt like I was taking away from my abilities. I think the most [it affected me] was mentally. I felt not clear-headed in there and I couldn’t think, and my skill and my ability to out-think the other guy is what separates me from the rest of the pack.”

“So rather than carrying the extra size, trying to be bigger and stronger, I just scrapped the weight cut, scrap all of that, I’m just going to fight at my weight and do my skillset justice, and I think I can beat anyone in the world doing it like that.”

This latest 1-3 run (with two quick first round defeats) must have really shaken Hooker up to consider a cut ... unless of course the dietician consult is all about taking some time to meat up and move to 170 pounds. UFC’s Welterweight division is full of guys who made the move from 155 to 170 and thrived, and that certainly seems like a more sane decision than a drop back down.

What do you think, Maniacs? Want to see Hooker go down ... or bulk up?