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Dan Hooker’s manager is there to stop him from ‘doing more dumb s—’

“Hangman” is preparing to rise through the rankings once again, this time with a manager to help navigate the choppy and uneven seas of UFC matchmaking.

UFC 267 Weigh-in Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Dan Hooker returns to action at UFC 290 this weekend (Sat., July 8, 2023) in Las Vegas, Nevada, against Jalin Turner in a fight that holds major career implications for the New Zealander. “The Hangman” climbed his way into the Top 5 of the Lightweight division in 2020, only to slip back out of the Top 10 after losses to Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Islam Makhachev and Arnold Allen.

Hooker returned to the win column with a strong body kick knockout win over Claudio Puelles in Nov. 2022 (watch it), and now he’s looking to take another step forward against the No. 10-ranked Turner.

In a new interview on Israel Adesanya’s YouTube channel, Hooker discussed what the Turner fight meant to him.

“I feel like this fight is a true tipping point,” he said. “I’ve got a bit of a chip [on my shoulder], it’s time to go in there and prove I belong with the best guys. That’s this fight for me. It’s to go out and prove that I have the potential to win a world title. Because I’ve said that many times. If I don’t think that the world title’s in the mix, then what’s the point of even doing it?

“And Jalin Turner is one of the best,” Hooker continued. “I want to fight him because he’s one of the very best fighters, and he has a lot of fighters turn him down when they see his name on the contract. That makes me excited. To fight someone in the top ten, to be back in the mix and get myself a couple fights away from the title, is exactly why I wanna have this fight.”

Hooker’s losses are against a “Who’s Who” of top 155-pound names (and the aforementioned Allen at Featherweight). Following that disastrous first round knockout loss, Hooker admitted the move — along with his decision to fight Makhachev on short notice — was a mistake.

He now has a manager in place to handle his next ascension up the rankings.

“I probably would have done some more dumb s—,” he said. “I probably would have rushed things, taken a fight I shouldn’t have taken or something like that. Or taken the fight when my hand wasn’t healed. I’m 100 percent certain of that. It’s a safety net to prevent me from doing more dumb s—. I’m a fighter, right? If you say mean things to me it pisses me off and I want to punch you.”

That attitude didn’t serve him so well once he made it to the peak of the sport.

“The people that are winning titles and some of the biggest names of the sport are not the guys that will fight anyone,” he observed. “How many of us are still around, guys that will go out there and sign against anyone and scrap?”

Now, Hooker is happy to be rid of the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes.

“I’m not part of how the fights get put together,” he said. “Just give me the name. That’s good.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 290 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+/ABC at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 290: “Volkanovski vs. Rodriguez” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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