As quickly as Dan Hooker acquired the decision providing him a struggle towards Dustin Poirier, he accepted it with out a second thought.

Initially the light-weight showdown was scheduled in Could, however the coronavirus pandemic put a cease to that. Now Hooker is getting ready to face Poirier in the primary occasion at UFC on ESPN 12 on June 27 after coaching via a quarantine and on the point of fly midway around the globe for the largest struggle of his profession.

“I must be silly to not take this struggle,” Hooker instructed MMA Preventing. “The way in which I have a look at it, it’s a win-win state of affairs. I’m No. 5, I’m preventing the No. 3 [ranked lightweight]. I plan on going on the market, placing on one heck of a present and placing Dustin away and incomes myself a title shot. That’s what my thoughts is ready on.

“However worst-case situation, I get my ass whooped, I don’t transfer that far down within the rankings and I get to make a bunch of cash for my household. So the best way I’m taking a look at it’s already a win-win state of affairs. There’s not a heck of a whole lot of stress on me if I’m being trustworthy.”

Heading into the struggle, Poirier has the deeper resume after turning into interim light-weight champion final yr earlier than falling to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a title unification bout this previous September. Afterwards, Poirier underwent hip surgical procedure and he might be making his return to motion after 9 months away.

In the meantime, Hooker was in a position to decide up a press release win over Paul Felder in his first UFC fundamental occasion in February.

Data apart, Hooker and Poirier interact within the type of stylistic matchup that screams “Struggle of the Night time” with each possessing an offensive output that might make Mike D’Antoni blush.

The struggle guarantees to be a fan pleasant affair however Hooker isn’t satisfied that Poirier will truly see him as an opponent the place standing and buying and selling bombs would be the greatest plan of action for him.

“He does are inclined to strike but in addition he does combine issues up fairly nicely,” Hooker defined. “Presses it towards the cage, appears to be like to wrestle. I doubt his No. 1 plan is ‘I’m going to go on the market and I’m going to strike with Dan Hooker’ trigger I don’t suppose that might be an ideal evening for him.

“He’s an unbelievable boxer, an unbelievable wrestler and I’m anticipating him to combine these two features of his sport collectively in that approach.”

Up to now, Poirier’s largest legal responsibility has been his incapacity to play protection when participating with an opponent. Even he’s admitted {that a} good old school slugfest used to come back again to hang-out him however Poirier has labored tirelessly to enhance these tendencies, which led him to high-profile wins over names like Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway.

As spectacular as that may be, Hooker is aware of the type of punishment he can dish out, particularly after incomes knockouts in 4 of his previous six wins together with a victory over present welterweight title contender Gilbert Burns when he was nonetheless competing at 155 kilos.

In his final struggle, Hooker stood toe-to-toe with one other light-weight slugger in Felder, who did handle to make it to the ultimate bell however solely after he absorbed 122 vital strikes over 5 rounds. In reality, Hooker believes Felder’s sturdiness was a large issue of their struggle and he doesn’t count on Poirier to climate that very same type of storm after they meet.

“That’s the factor — he’s positively going to have to regulate his sport slightly bit,” Hooker mentioned about Poirier. “I really feel like pressuring me, taking a shot, giving it, taking a shot, giving a shot is simply not the best way to greatest strategy it. I don’t really feel like Dustin can take a shot in addition to Paul Felder can. From watching the tape of each of these fighters, I don’t suppose Poirier has the chin Felder does.

“I really feel I can put Dustin away. If I hold touching him, there’s no approach that Dustin’s going to have the ability to eat these pictures and be capable to recuperate from the harm I’m typically in a position to inflict on opponents.”

Assuming the struggle performs out the best way he desires, Hooker seems like a win over Poirier ought to then cement his spot on the No. 1 contender within the light-weight division.

“I positively have one of the best resume for a title shot,” Hooker mentioned. “Successful towards Dustin Poirier, particularly in struggle. forwards and backwards entertaining matchup or through knockout, I solidify myself with the following greatest resume.”



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