Dan Hooker’s selection to interact in an exciting barnburner with Dustin Poirier might have finally value him a win.

Hooker (20-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC) suffered a unanimous choice loss to Poirier (26-6 MMA, 18-5 UFC) in the principle occasion of UFC on ESPN 12 this previous weekend, successful the primary two rounds on the judges’ scorecards earlier than dropping the ultimate three.

After a robust begin, Hooker began to decelerate and the battle-tested Poirier turned the tide and inflicted plenty of injury to take over the momentum. It was a “Combat of the Yr” candidate, and each fighters have been instantly transported to an area Las Vegas hospital within the aftermath.

“Yeah, it was a little bit of enjoyable,” Hooker informed Submission Radio. “Now I do know what (Justin) Gaethje was on about when he was like, ‘I used to be having an excessive amount of enjoyable combating Dustin.’ Like, he simply acquired carried away. He’s a enjoyable man to combat. Like, he’s speaking to his nook, he’s speaking to you, I began speaking again. Like, it simply acquired carried away. I acquired carried away having an excessive amount of bloody enjoyable.”

Hooker tried to rally late utilizing his grappling, however Poirier was capable of cease takedowns or pop proper again as much as his ft when floor, stopping Hooker from sustaining any important prime management.

“He was fairly slippery, to be sincere,” Hooker mentioned. “I can maintain onto most individuals pretty nicely, however he was actual elusive within the grappling. I used to be fairly (shocked). I needed to tip my hat to him a few occasions. One in every of them, I acquired him down, and he did this actual cool escape the place he simply butt-scooted, after which I had each his heels, and I used to be kinda on the brink of move, after which he simply bellied down and pulled out.

“I used to be identical to, ‘Oh.’ Needed to give him a bit of bow there. I used to be like, ‘That was sharp.’ So, just some issues, man. There’s a motive why he’s among the best fighters on the planet. I should be in there with him. I assumed it was an excellent combat.”

Hooker has been in his justifiable share of grueling fights, together with his earlier outing with Paul Felder at UFC on ESPN+ 26 in February. After a chat together with his head coach Eugene Bareman of Metropolis Kickboxing, he thinks it’s time he tamed his strategy.

“I mentioned that to Eugene once we acquired to the hospital after the combat, I mentioned, ‘(expletive), I’ve acquired a tough head,’” Hooker mentioned. “And he’s like, ‘Didn’t you already know that?’ He’s like, ‘Did you need to examine that once more and never understand that by now?’ I’m carried out. I’m carried out. I’ve realized it now, any longer, we’re combating good. Ranging from now.”

On the finish of the competition, Poirier acquired in Hooker’s face and began jawing at him. It was clear “The Diamond” was sad with a number of the issues Hooker mentioned pre-fight, however they have been capable of squash it after they bumped into one another on the hospital.

“It was humorous as a result of I used to be spent, I used all my vitality within the combat, after which he comes over and he begins jawing at me,” Hooker mentioned. “He begins being like, ‘Oh, yeah, so that you’re gonna combat Gaethje subsequent? Oh yeah, you’re gonna smash my face in?’ After which I used to be identical to, ‘Ah.’ So I needed to get up and I acquired in his face.

“I acquired up, acquired in his face, after which he (mentioned), ‘It’s all good, it’s all good.”

Upon his return to his native New Zealand after the combat, Hooker was instantly taken right into a necessary two-week quarantine interval. That’s going to present him loads of time to dissect the loss, however he’s already fascinated about what’s subsequent.

Hooker mentioned he hopes to squeeze in another combat this 12 months, and is focusing on Tony Ferguson (25-Four MMA, 15-2 UFC) and Charles Oliveira (29-Eight MMA, 17-Eight UFC) as opponents of curiosity.

“I’ve acquired my eyes on who I need to combat subsequent, and I feel it’s both gonna be Tony or it’s gonna be Oliveira,” Hooker mentioned. “I feel both a type of fights is one other foremost occasion. However then, Oliveira, he’s getting carried away calling out Poirier and calling out Conor (McGregor), and he’s beating across the bush, making an attempt to say anybody besides me or Tony.

“He’s a humorous man. However yeah, I’ll have to attend and see, as a result of clearly Tony makes far more sense for me. But when I’ve to return after which solidify my place within the prime 5, I’m joyful to try this. I simply need to combat and I need to combat earlier than the tip of the 12 months, and both of these two names is sensible for me.”



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