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Morning Report: Dan Hooker responds to Islam Makhachev: ‘Bro, you’re just copying your mate’s homework’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 31, Islam Makhachev turned in a dominant performance in his first main event, submitting Thiago Moises with a rear-naked choke in the fourth round. Following the win, Makhachev called for bouts against many of the lightweight division’s top-ranked fighters, including Rafael dos Anjos, Tony Ferguson, and Michael Chandler. One name he didn’t mention though, was Dan Hooker.

Hooker and Makhachev briefly feuded in the past when Hooker allegedly turned down a fight with Makhachev in favor of a bout with Paul Felder for the main event of UFC Auckland in 2020. At the time, Makhavchev ripped Hooker for being afraid to face him, but following Makhachev’s performance on Saturday, Hooker says he has zero regrets about his decision because Makhachev is not an entertaining opponent.

“I kind of was watching and on fast forward. I got bored,” Hooker told Submission Radio. “So, I can’t really… like, yeah. It kind of is what it is.

“Coming into the main event of UFC Auckland, I knew Felder was going to be the fight, and then Islam starts chiming in. So, I started having a bit of banter with him, saying that I would have to give away tickets to the event in the car park of Pak-n-Save if I got booked with Islam Makhachev. So, I can’t say I regret not going out of my way to fight Islam, to put on a five-round war in my home town with Paul Felder. And if it would’ve been anything like he performed in his main event, that’s not the style of fight that the Kiwi fans want to see. They want to see two blokes go out there and really challenge themselves and see who’s better. Like I said, I kind of got bored watching his main event in fast forward. So, I couldn’t imagine watching the damn thing live in my hometown. I think there would have been a bloody riot after the fight.”

Though your mileage may vary with Makhachev’s fighting style, it’s impossible to deny that Khabib Nurmagomedov’s anointed successor is a tremendous fighter. Currently riding an eight-fight win streak in the UFC, Makhachev has recently found it difficult to get matchups against top-ranked opponents and as a result, has pushed a narrative that fighters are afraid to fight him and it’s that approach to things that has rankled Hooker’s feathers.

“You see scrolling past and seeing on like build-up videos of him saying everyone’s scared, everyone’s scared to fight him, oh, the whole division’s shook. Bro, you’re just copying your mate’s homework. Give your mate’s homework back and come up with something for yourself, son.

“He’s on a good streak at the moment, but I believe he’s been knocked out in the UFC before. So then him copying Khabib’s homework and saying all this wild stuff when you’ve been laid flat in the octagon, it doesn’t really have the same ring to it as an undefeated fighter. He just beat number 15. And then guys in the top five are supposed to be howling his name and taking the fight?

“....It just doesn’t make sense for those guys to go out there with the notation that everyone’s afraid of them. I truly believe like no one in that top 15 is afraid to fight anyone else in the top 15. It just doesn’t make sense. Everyone is afraid of someone? You watch them get the belt and then no one turns a fight down. Everyone’s positioning themselves to be champion, and that’s just what it is. So, the notion that fighters are afraid of another fighter is just silly. And if you believe that, I think you’re just a little bit gullible.”

Normally, this sort of heat between fighters could lead to an eventual fight to settle things, however, at this stage is appears Makhachev believes himself to be past Hooker. In the pre-fight buildup to UFC Vegas 31, Makhachev said that he doesn’t think a fight with Hooker is a big step up for him at this point, saying his goal is an opponent who will help him fight for the belt, which Hooker thinks is funny considering Makhachev’s top choice in opponent.

“Oh, it’s just funny,” Hooker said. “Like, I don’t really care. I don’t really take it too seriously. Like, it’s just a bunch of banter to me. But if you dish it out, you better be able to take it. So, his reason (for not fighting me is) that I’m like three losses in my last six fights. And then in the same breath he calls out Tony Ferguson who’s lost three in a row. So, that makes about as much sense as sh*tting in a swimming pool.”

And should the two ever meet in the cage to settle their differences? Hooker is under no illusions it would be an easy fight, but he believes that if it was a main event, he would ultimately stop the Islam Makhachev hype train, emphatically.

That’s like a difficult question, because there’s so many different things,” Hooker said. “I’d say I would want that fight to be a five-rounder for sure. And I’d say that’s like two and half rounds of defending takedowns and scrambling back to my feet. But then once I’m back up there, I feel like I put his lights out.”


TOP STORIES

Results. Islam Makhachev and Miesha Tate get late finishes at UFC Vegas 31.

Results. Juliana Velasquez ekes out split decision over Denise Kielholtz to defend title at Bellator 262.

Rivalry. Islam Makhachev names Tony Ferguson as first pick for next opponent: ‘Let’s finish this’.

Return. Miesha Tate responds to Holly Holm following return win, tells bantamweights ‘they can all get it’.

Response. Michael Chandler reacts to Islam Makhachev calling him out after UFC Vegas 31: ‘I think wrestling beats sambo’.


VIDEO STEW

UFC Vegas 31 Post Show.

UFC Vegas 31 Post-fight Press Conference.

Behind the scenes of Islam Makhachev’s weight cut.

Frenemies: the Israel Adesanya-Dan Hooker story.

Gilbert Burns is willing to fight Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal.


LISTEN UP

On To The Next One. Matchmaking for the UFC following UFC Vegas 31.

Severe MMA. Discussing UFC Vegas 31, Conor McGregor, and the UFC signing Ian Garry.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Islam going to continue to find it hard to get fights.

Call out.

Respect.

Feeling good.

Less so.

Shade.

Bobby Knuckles learning his son.

Nick Newell teaching you important things.

Advancement.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

N/A.


FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s good to be back! Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who should Islam Makhachev fight next?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Rafael dos Anjos
    (403 votes)
  • 29%
    Michael Chandler
    (347 votes)
  • 14%
    Tony Ferguson
    (169 votes)
  • 15%
    Dan Hooker
    (186 votes)
  • 6%
    Other
    (75 votes)
1180 votes total Vote Now

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