Dan Hooker volunteers to fight Tony Ferguson next, reveals potential timeline for return

Dan Hooker volunteers to fight Tony Ferguson next, reveals potential timeline for return

Dan Hooker just engaged in a “Fight of the Year” candidate with Dustin Poirier but a few days later, he’s already thinking about what comes next.

As he sits in a government-mandated quarantine for two weeks after returning home to New Zealand, Hooker can’t help but look at the lay of the land in the lightweight division when considering his options for another fight in 2020.

Miraculously, Hooker didn’t suffer any major injuries in the fight with Poirier, and while he’s not rushing back by any means, he definitely plans on competing again this year. With that said, he’s got a couple of options available to him and Hooker isn’t afraid to call his shot.

“By the time I get out of this quarantine, I’ll be ready to get back in the gym and start mixing it up on the mats,” Hooker said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I know what makes sense. If there’s something about me, I know what the fans want. I understand how this game works and I know what makes sense.

“What makes the most sense for both me and Dustin is Dustin fights Tony [Ferguson] to see who’s going to be the No. 1 contender and I go back and fight Charles Oliveira to really solidify myself in the top five by beating another top guy. I understand that.”

With seven wins in a row, Oliveira has been making waves at lightweight but still sits behind Hooker in the official UFC rankings. Meanwhile, Ferguson is coming off a loss in a “Fight of the Night” of his own against Justin Gaethje from May.

Hooker concedes that Oliveira is the opponent who probably makes the most sense for him, but if Poirier is taking some time off or potentially waiting for a title shot, he will gladly accept the opportunity to face Ferguson instead.

“Let’s see with Dustin,” Hooker said. “Because he’s gotta be watching that fight Justin [Gaethje] and Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. Let’s say Justin knocks out Khabib. Well then obviously Gaethje would love to avenge his loss to Poirier. So I don’t think we see Poirier get back in there and mix it up until that Gaethje-Khabib fight is out of the way.

“That leaves Tony Ferguson without a dance partner, and if Tony Ferguson wants to get in there and mix it up, I’m definitely putting my hand up to get in there and compete with Tony Ferguson.”

Prior to his loss to Gaethje, Ferguson was riding a 12-fight win streak in the division while also claiming the interim lightweight title at one point. He’s still widely regarded as one of the best 155-pounders in the world, which is exactly why Hooker would relish the chance to fight him.

“I think that’s a five round main event war,” Hooker said about a potential matchup against Ferguson. “For me, that’s best case scenario for me.

“I’m going to compete one more time this year. Whether he’s above me or below me, I’m getting back in the octagon. I just want to put my hand up [to volunteer].”

According to Hooker, he won’t make the call to the UFC to ask for another fight until after he actually gets back in the gym again following the end of his quarantine.

That said, when looking ahead at the calendar, he definitely envisions a return to action in the latter part of 2020.

“October-November,” Hooker answered when asked about his timeline for another fight. “I’ll wait until I get back in the gym to message the UFC but I put it out there that I would definitely be interested in that Tony fight and the fans are just jumping on that. They’re responding really well. I know how the UFC works.

“If the fans are asking for something, and it makes sense for the UFC to match that fight, then I don’t see too much getting in the way of that thing getting booked in the next few months.”

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