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Daniel Cormier thinks Dan Hooker is becoming a UFC gatekeeper: ‘It’s actually sad’

UFC Fight Night: Allen v Hooker Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Former UFC champion Daniel Cormier believes that Dan Hooker is quickly approaching gatekeeper status after dropping four out of his last five trips to the Octagon.

While the verdict is still out Hooker hasn’t looked like himself over the past few fights. It could be the fact that he’s facing steeper competition, accepting fights on short notice, or dropping down in weight to salvage his UFC stock, but “Hangman” hasn’t provided much momentum of late.

Hooker, who is one of the biggest fan favorites on the UFC roster today, is coming off a shocking TKO loss to featherweight contender Arnold Allen at UFC London just last week. Before that, the New Zealand native was submitted in just over two minutes in his scrap with Islam Makhachev at UFC 267. Hooker did mix in a solid decision win over Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266, but had dropped back-to-back fights to Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler before that.

While Hooker is still just 32 years of age and has already received the support of UFC president Dana White it’s going to be difficult for him to escape gatekeeper status if he doesn’t turn it around quickly. Cormier believes Hooker may have already fallen into that role after coming up short over the past two years.

“I think we have our answer now as to where Dan Hooker is in his career and it’s sobering,” said Cormier during a recent episode of ESPN MMA’s “DC & RC” show. “It’s actually sad for a fan favorite, like Hooker. But we know now that Dan Hooker is now on the tail end. Because when you start to become the person that is there to uplift the younger talent, the gatekeeper per se, like you know, you always say I try to make everybody a gatekeeper it seems like now he will continue to find himself in those types of matchups.”

Again, the level of competition has been pretty steep for Hooker over his past five fights. It was a bit of a surprise to see him get steamrolled by Allen in the fashion that he did, but Allen is now 9-0 as a member of the UFC featherweight division and is closing in on a potential title shot.

It sounds like UFC will give Hooker a few more chances to proof he can turn things around so there’s still a shot he escapes his impending “gatekeeper” status.