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Morning Report: Dan Hooker reflects on knockout loss to Michael Chandler: ‘You prepare yourself for worst-case scenarios, but even that took the cake’

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UFC 257: Hooker v Chandler Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC 257 did not go as planned for Dan Hooker. Coming off one of the Fights of the Year in 2020 (a unanimous decision loss to Dustin Poirier), Hooker was looking to insert himself in the lightweight title picture with a win over former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler. Instead, Hooker was knocked out in the first round. Since the loss, Hooker hasn’t talked about what exactly happened, until Sunday.

Speaking with Submission Radio, Hooker reflected on his loss to Chandler, and for a man who was just knocked out in the co-main event of what will be one of the biggest pay-per-views this year, “The Hangman” seems to be in good spirits.

“To be honest, I had nothing to say,” Hooker explained. “Like a week went past and what can you say? What can you say? You have good days and bad days. You go into these kind of things and you prepare yourself for worst case scenarios, but even that took the cake. (Laughs). Even then it surprised me how bad it went. That was the very surprising thing. So I was like, what can you say? I had no words to describe it. You come to and then you’re just like, I’ve just wasted four months of my life for that.”

Hooker was equally as candid about the circumstances that led to the knockout. Chandler went low with a jab to the body and then launched a hook to the head that floored Hooker, leading to the finish, and after rewatching the fight, Hooker puts it down to simply having screwed up.

“That’s like the funny thing, zigged and should’ve zagged,” Hooker said. “That’s all it is. Fighting is like a mixture of thinking and your reactions. You’re balancing your process thought and then your reactions. I felt like I was calm, could see everything, was thinking, was sharp in there. I just relied on my reactions to get out of the way of that punch and it let me down. It’s hard to describe. It’s such an obvious error and such a very costly mistake.

“He changed levels. I think I relied on my reaction time. He sold the level change well. I thought he was going for a takedown, comes upstairs with a punch. There’s a million things I could’ve done that would’ve changed that. There’s a million different reactions that I could’ve done and that not happen. But it did. What can you do? I certainly don’t have a time machine. I think Floyd Mayweather has a time machine. If anyone has a time machine, Floyd Mayweather has a time machine. I do not have a time machine.”

Costly indeed. Hooker is now on a two-fight losing streak in the UFC and his next fight will be extremely important to get back in the win column. Fortunately, he will have a next fight. During the official announcement, Hooker took his gloves off in the cage, causing the commentary crew to speculate on whether Hooker was retiring after the loss. But Hooker says that was just a moment of frustration, not a farewell.

“You’re always frustrated after a loss,” Hooker explained. “(It was) a balance of everything. Sheer frustration, you’re disappointed, and in that moment I was like, ‘I’m done! (Laughs) I’m finished with this sh*tty sport! I’m done!’ Then you get back to the hotel and you think about it and you realize you’re not good at anything else either, so it’s like well (laughs), “I’ve kind of painted myself into a bit of a corner here.’ (Laughs).

“People think you’re gonna be rolling around in depression and not getting out of bed, but I know what it is. This is a sport I’ve been doing and following for my entire adult life. It’s always a possibility. A loss like this, you’re not rolling around in depression, super upset. It’s self-explanatory. It is what it is. I can honestly say I’m not any more upset than when I lost the Poirier fight.”

In the grand scheme of things, Hooker seems to be taking this loss as well as can be expected. There is, however, one thing that seems to slightly bother him: the suggestion that Chandler KOing him is indicative of durability issues.

“Trust me, no one has a good chin,” Hooker said. “You get hit with those gloves on - I wouldn’t stick my chin in the air and let my wife punch me in the chin. She’d probably knock me out. Does that mean she’s a knockout puncher? It’s just that people get hit in the chin and people don’t get hit in the chin. No one has a good chin. That’s a myth.”

Currently, Hooker is in quarantine waiting to return home from Abu Dhabi.


TOP STORIES

Retirement. Coach Javier Mendez’s advice for Khabib Nurmagomedov: ‘Hold out for GSP or retire’.

155. Patricio Pitbull expects Michael Chandler to beat Dustin Poirier ‘easily,’ but still won’t be MMA’s best lightweight.

Salty. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane moving on after ‘boring as sh*t’ title loss to Bellator champ Juliana Velasquez.

Bad Boy. Huntington Beach City Council to consider removal of Tito Ortiz as Mayor Pro Tem.

Wrestling. Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs explains why he never made the move from wrestling to MMA.


VIDEO STEW

Kamaru Usman interview.

UFC new series with Paul Felder and Michael Chiesa.

Thrill and the Agony Sneak Peek.

Bas thinks Khabib will return.

Ranking Alistair Overeem’s opponents.


LISTEN UP

Severe MMA. Discussing Conor McGregor, Alistair Overeem, B.J. Penn, and Askren-Paul.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Trash talk.

Call out.

Apparently his hot sauce is actually very good.

Concur.

Khabib just rolling around in flip flops.

Dan Ige working the body.

Explanation.

Tony having another kid.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Ben Rothwell (38-13) vs. Philipe Lins (14-5); UFC Fight Night, Mar. 13.

Chase Sherman (15-6) vs. Parker Porter (11-6); UFC Fight Night, Apr. 17.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Great quote from Dan Hooker that didn’t make it up top:

“I was like, ‘Maybe I’ll drink my sorrows away,’ but then I went to the bars and it’s $20 a beer in Abu Dhabi so I said, ‘Well that plan’s out the bloody window, I’m going back to the gym.’

Dan seems like a good hang.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who should Dan Hooker fight next?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Tony Ferguson
    (586 votes)
  • 13%
    Paul Felder
    (153 votes)
  • 27%
    Kevin Lee
    (305 votes)
  • 6%
    Other
    (67 votes)
1111 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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