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Dan Hooker Interested In Bout With Rafael dos Anjos: That’s A Fight I Would Like

Hooker
Mandatory Credit: Chris Unger - Zuffa LLC & Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC

City Kickboxing staple, Dan Hooker has outlined a couple opponents whom he could possibly share the Octagon with on his return, namely former interim champion, Justin Gaethje, but particularly, one-time lightweight pacesetter, Rafael dos Anjos.

Taking co-headlining status at UFC 257 in January on ‘Fight Island’, the Auckland native welcomed former three-time Bellator lightweight champion, Michael Chandler to the promotion — suffering his second consecutive defeat via a stunning first-round knockout.

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Frustrated with his overall performance against the Sanford MMA standout, questions over Hooker’s immediate fighting future were posed when the Kiwi took off his gloves and left them behind him in the Octagon. Reflecting on his decision to continue with his professional career, Hooker more or less explained how he had backed himself into a corner where he must continue fighting. 

With the lightweight division seeing a slew of recent bookings confirmed in the form of matchups between Tony Ferguson and Beneil Dariush, Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler, and Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, Hooker pointed out that there are two notable contenders currently without bookings; both Gaethje and dos Anjos.

Speaking with South China Morning Post reporter, John Hyon Ko recently, Hooker floated the idea of a potential pairing against either contender, however, noted that Gaethje will likely continue to sit out given his superior rank in the division when compared to his lightweight peers. 

Obviously, there’s only two real names out there at the moment and that’s (Justin) Gaethje or RDA (Rafael dos Anjos),” Hooker said. “Gaethje, I feel will sit and wait. His most recent defeat is to Khabib (Nurmagomedov). Like a lot of people, if you give that enough time, he’ll brush that off.

Gaethje right now is in a position for a huge opportunity,” Hooker explained. “It would be very dangerous for him to fight a guy like RFA. 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.

Returning to 155-pounds last November, dos Anjos began his second lightweight run with a clear-cut, split decision win over short-notice replacement, Paul Felder, common-opposition as Hooker.

That’s a fight I would like,” Hooker said when discussing dos Anjos. “That’s a former champion. Coming back beating (Paul) Felder. He did incredible in that fight. Behind Gaethje, (dos Anjos) would be number-one on my list.

Hoping to snap a two-fight skid in his eventual Octagon comeback, Hooker dropped his January loss to Chandler, as well as a June main event against former interim titleholder, Poirier at UFC Vegas 4.

The loss to American Top Team mainstay, Poirier snapped a three-fight rise for Hooker, which included a knockout win over James Vick, and a pair of decision triumphs over Al Iaquinta, and the aforenoted, Felder. 

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