Dan Hooker plans return at UFC 266, suggests bout with Nate Diaz

Hooker
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari – Zuffa LLC

UFC lightweight contender, Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker has earmarked UFC 266 and September 5th. as his planned return to the Octagon, and has even suggested recent UFC 263 main card feature, Nate Diaz as a potential welcoming party upon his return.

Hooker, who is currently sat as the #8 ranked contender in the lightweight division shark tank, has yet to feature since his UFC 257 appearance in January of this year on ‘Fight Island’ — where he suffered a first round knockout loss to recent vacant title challenger, Michael Chandler in the latter’s first Octagon walk. 

The loss came as Hooker’s second consecutively, following a unanimous decision loss to former interim titleholder, Dustin Poirier in June at UFC Vegas 4 — finding himself on the wrong side of a judging loss, in a definite Fight of the Year contender. 

Following his defeat to Chandler, Hooker immediately removed his gloves and left them placed in the Octagon, which resulted in immediate speculation regarding his fighting future, however, after some deliberation, Hooker explained how he had more or less backed himself into a corner professionally and had no other career options than fighting professionally. 

In the months following his loss to Chandler, Hooker expressed his interest in a potential return fight against former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos, however, having viewed the aforenoted, Diaz’s five round bout with the #3 ranked welterweight, Leon Edwards last weekend at UFC 263, has noted his willingness to score an Octagon return against the Stockton favourite.

It’s just an exciting fight, that’s a guy (Nate Diaz) people want to see,” Hooker said during a recent interview with Sportskeeda reporter, John Hyon Ko. “I think he knows the kind of fight that I’ll bring to the table. I’m not gonna come out there and — he knows the kind of fight I’m gonna bring to the table.

I’m one of the guys that would definitely do that fight justice,” Hooker explained. “We’ll meet in the center of the cage and throw down and may the best man win.

Earmarking Diaz as a potential return opponent, the City Kickboxing mainstay has also suggested UFC 266 as his landing pad, which takes place on September 5th. — and features his teammate, featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski who meets with Brian Ortega in a rescheduled title bout.

I’ve set a date,” Hooker explained. “I’ve talked with the UFC, I tried to get on that card so I tried to throw my name in the hat for that card as soon as I knew about that card. They told me no one was free,  non one was unmatched, or (was) injured. So I’ll come back with this date, September 5th. (Alexander) Volkanovski (vs.) (Brian) Ortega is on that card, my team will be ready to go again so I’m jumping on that card.

With Diaz’s claims that he hopes to fight again this year, within the next three or four months, in fact, Hooker is hoping to entice the 36-year-old back by the start of September.

I’ve set a date, that’s my date,” Hooker said. “(Nate Diaz) said he wants to go in three or four months, well there’s three months. If he wants it, we can get it. I’m not waiting around for anyone on that date. I don’t pick my fights. I’m fighting on that date and I do not care who.” (H/T BJPENN.com)

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