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Ollie Gadd
Ollie Gadd

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The Dan Hooker Dilemma

So, Dan Hooker's Featherweight re-debut against UK Talent and then #7 ranked Featherweight Arnold Allen went about as badly as it could have gone. He wasn't caught and KO'd flush in an Aldo-Connor type scenario. He wasn't outwrestled, shown up in one of his weak areas. He was dominated by a smaller, less experienced striker who poured on punch after punch at the speed of a true featherweight.


Making Featherweight

Dan made weight fine with the help of the UFC Performance Institute. I don't think the cut really diminished his chin all that much. Cody Garbrandt was bounced across the cage walls by Kai Kara-France in his Flyweight debut, and whilst Cody's chin had been subject to scrutiny for a while prior, it was pretty clear that cutting the weight hurt his endurance a lot. Dan didn't look like that. Arnold didn't put him away like Chandler did. He hit Dan with flurry after flurry of fast strikes that froze him up and forced the referee to step in.


Dan's striking defense tends to be a hell of a lot of offence. He's got the range for it and he tends to find some solid success with it at lightweight. The cut to featherweight, however, just showed him to be too slow for the division's strikers in my opinion. That's the weakness the new division opened up. He just doesn't have fast enough hands to make his defensive style work down there.


The Verdict

The best thing for Dan Hooker to do would be a return to lightweight, as most people are agreed. He was a legitimate contender there, went life or death with a two-time title challenger and ultimately was just a clearly superior fighter. His most recent losses in that weight class come at the hands of Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler and and Islam Makhachev, all of whom have fought for the title since or are expected to soon.


Hooker needs to stop taking absolute killers, at least for a while. At 32, he isn't too old to turn this around and he's certainly got the skills pull it off. Dan can be as solid as he once was for sure, but he simply needs a step down in competition. A full training camp, a lower ranked opponent and a few months away from fighting would be great for Hooker.


I'd like to see him return to lightweight against an unranked but respectable fighter. An opponent like Bobby Green might be a good fight for Dan to regain some confidence against a nameworthy opponent that fights to a style that's good for him.


Dan Hooker doesn't have to be washed, at least I don't think so.

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Top comments (2)

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lee profile image
Lee

The cut to featherweight, however, just showed him to be too slow for the division's strikers in my opinion. That's the weakness the new division opened up. He just doesn't have fast enough hands to make his defensive style work down there.

Well put, hadn’t thought about it like that.. Arnold’s hand speed looked insane in comparison.

A lot of people think that he hasn’t been the same since the Dustin fight, difficult watch:

Great write up, enjoyed reading this

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ogaddmma profile image
Ollie Gadd Author

Yeah, its definitely a possibility that he's just not the same fighter after a war like that. Doesn't have the durability, doesn't want to get hit the same.

That being said I don't know if we've necessarily seen actual proof of that yet. He's only lost to absolute monsters of the LW division since. If he's losing to people outside the top 10, then I think we can properly talk about him having changed as a fighter.

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