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Dan Hooker eyes Brian Ortega for return to featherweight

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

One month after his Lightweight loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 267 (see it here), Dan Hooker made a test cut down to the Featherweight division. The next time “The Hangman” starts shedding the weight it will be the real deal.

Indeed, Hooker revealed that he intends to return to the 145-pound division in his next fight, and he already has a big name for his first opponent. During a recent chat on The Mac Life’s Pub Talk (via MMAJunkie), Hooker said he’d love to face former two-time title contender, Brian Ortega.

“After Kai’s win, (I bumped into) Sean Shelby on the way out, and that’s the first time I’ve heard from him since the Featherweight thing,” Hooker said regarding his test cut. “He’s obviously seen it, and he was like, ‘Well, what are you going to do? 55, 45?’ I said yeah, 45. I can make 45 quite comfortably if I get something good.

“He goes, ‘Who do you want?’” Hooker continued. “I said ‘Korean Zombie,’ but he’s injured. What about Ortega? He goes, ‘Oh, I’ll have a look. I’ll send you a list.’ I was amped up.”

Locking down a fight against Ortega sounds appealing, but the chances of getting it for his first challenge at Featherweight could be slim. That’s because “T-City” is currently the No. 2-ranked fighter in the weight class and is coming off a championship loss to division kingpin, Alexander Volkanovski.

Hooker, meanwhile, has lost three of four fights, though they did come against the cream of the crop in the form of Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler and Makhachev. Hooker is currently ranked No. 8 at Lightweight.

If Hooker’s wish to face Ortega isn’t fulfilled, who would you like to see him face in his return to 145 pounds?