Hooker Won’t Bring Short-Notice “Excuses” To UFC 267 Makhachev Fight
published on October 6, 2021
curated and posted by BRWLRZ Team

UFC lightweight Dan Hooker says he won’t be preparing any excuses heading into his clash with Islam Makhachev at UFC 267, despite taking the bout on short notice.

Hooker was in action last month at UFC 266. After a difficult period leading up to the event, which saw the New Zealander clash with police over his inability to train at his own empty gym due to COVID-19 restrictions, and struggle to obtain a US visa until just days before the pay-per-view, “The Hangman” made it to Vegas and faced Nasrat Haqparast inside the T-Mobile Arena.

With a mature and intelligent performance, Hooker returned to the win column with a unanimous decision over his German opponent. Having recorded back-to-back defeats to Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler prior to his September clash, Hooker’s victory was crucial in keeping him towards the top of the 155-pound division.

Miraculously, the 31-year-old signed on for another fight just days after his clash with Haqparast. After Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of UFC 267 through injury, Hooker stepped up and will now meet the surging Dagestani Makhachev on October 30.

Despite the adversity he faced ahead of UFC 266, and the short-notice nature of his upcoming bout with the Russian, Hooker says he’ll never make excuses, regardless of the result.

Speaking on a recent episode of Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, “The Hangman” said the result of his third fight of the year will be determined by who the better man is on the night, not from “preloaded excuses.”

“Nah, you’re either the best or you’re not the best. There’s no excuses. I’m not going into this fight with any preloaded excuses. Regardless of the result of this fight, you’ll never hear an excuse come out of my mouth. I didn’t take the fight for the sake of taking the fight. I take the fight because I believe I’m gonna win. That’s why I’m taking the fight. So it’s not a case of, ‘Aw, man, you’re doing this, jumpin’ in—I’m not going with a preloaded excuse. Either I beat him or I don’t beat him. He’s either the better man or he’s not the better man. Regardless of the preparation, it comes down to that night.”

Hooker also reiterated that he accepted the fight because he believes he can win. If he does so, the New Zealander would find himself back in the lightweight top-five and back in contention for a championship opportunity.

“I’m not going there to punch a ticket. I’m not going there to fight for the sake of fighting. I’m taking this fight because I’m coming to win. I’m going to win the fight. All of this, in my opinion, is for nothing if I don’t come out with my hand raised.”

UFC 267, which will be a non-pay-per-view numbered event, has been hit by a few notable withdrawals. Along with dos Anjos’ injury, UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling has also been forced to pull out of his scheduled fight. “Funk Master” had been set to defend his title for the first time in a rematch against Petr Yan. However, due to lingering neck issues, the champ won’t be able to put his belt on the line this month.

According to many, the card has become stronger with the late changes. Along with Hooker stepping in to face Makhachev, Cory Sandhagen will now be standing opposite Yan on October 30. With the interim title on the line, “The Sandman” will look to spoil the Russian’s plans of securing a rematch with Sterling when they meet in Abu Dhabi.

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 267, Dan Hooker or Islam Makhachev?

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