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Dan Hooker eyes comeback fight against Justin Gaethje or Rafael dos Anjos

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UFC Fight Night: Hooker v Pearson Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Longtime UFC lightweight veteran Dan Hooker suffered a major setback in his quest for the 155-pound title, getting dropped and stopped by former Bellator MMA champion Michael Chandler at the UFC 257 pay-per-view (PPV) event back in January.

But “The Hangman” can easily tighten up the slack in his rope by securing a high-profile victory over a ranked opponent, which is why the 31 year-old Kiwi has his eye on Justin Gaethje, or perhaps former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.

“Obviously, there’s only two real names out there at the moment and that’s Gaethje or RDA,” Hooker told South China Morning Post. “Gaethje, I feel will sit and wait. Gaethje right now is in a position for a huge opportunity. It would be dangerous for him to fight a guy like RDA. It’ll be very dangerous for him to fight a guy like me and give me an opportunity to jump the queue again and get in a position like that.”

Gaethje (22-3) is coming off a submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 back in Oct. 2020, but has managed to hold on to the No. 2 spot behind Dustin Poirier in the official rankings. As for Dos Anjos (30-13), he’s sitting one spot below Hooker at No. 7.

Which makes the Brazilian a perfect comeback fight.

“That’s a fight I would like,” Hooker said. “That’s a former champion. Coming back beating [Paul] Felder. He did incredible in that fight. Behind Gaethje, [he] would be number one on my list.”

Dos Anjos is 1-0 since returning to lightweight last November.