• October 17, 2021

Dan Hooker agrees to fight Islam Makhachev at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi

Less than one week after an impressive triumph at UFC 266 in Las Vegas, lightweight Dan Hooker has already accepted his next task — and it’s a big one.

Hooker (21-10) has agreed to face Islam Makhachev (20-1) at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Oct. 30, UFC president Dana White revealed on Thursday.

Hooker is stepping in for Makhachev’s original opponent Rafael Dos Anjos, who was forced to pull from the fight due to injury.

It’s been a whirlwind end of the month for Hooker, who fights out of New Zealand. The City Kickboxing product arrived in Las Vegas from New Zealand just two days before his fight versus Nasrat Haqparast, due to last-minute visa issues. He went on to look terrific in a three-round decision.

Hooker, 31, told ESPN he wasn’t officially offered the fight until Thursday, and agreed shortly thereafter. He said he called his wife in New Zealand first, as the plan is now for the entire family to move to the U.S. for the time being.

Hooker will train for the fight in Las Vegas.

“I didn’t want to say yes and then have the missus find out on Twitter she’s moving countries,” Hooker told ESPN. “We’ll train here, shoot over to Abu Dhabi and get the job done, and come back to the U.S. Bring the family over, see what happens from there.”

Makhachev, of Dagestan, is riding an eight-fight victory streak. A teammate of retired lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, he is widely viewed as a potential future titleholder and is coming off a submission victory over Thiago Moises in his first-ever UFC main event in July.

Hooker thinks the winner of the Oct. 30 fight will earn a opportunity for the lightweight belt.

“I feel like this gives me a title shot,” Hooker said. “I feel everyone is trying to skate him to a title fight, and that’s mine if I beat him. I feel like I felt with the Michael Chandler fight [in January], when he went on to a title fight.”

A light heavyweight bout between champion Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira will headline UFC 267. An interim bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen is also on the card.

Steve Carr

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