Morning Report: Dan Hooker says lack of crowd is the reason for Charles Oliveira’s win over Tony Ferguson

Morning Report: Dan Hooker says lack of crowd is the reason for Charles Oliveira’s win over Tony Ferguson

At UFC 256, the lightweight title picture got even more log-jammed when Charles Oliveira dominated Tony Ferguson en route to a unanimous decision victory. For most fans, the win was the coming-out party for Oliveira who had very quietly put together a seven-fight win streak with seven finishes. But not everyone was as impressed with Oliveira’s performance as others, namely, fellow lightweight contender Dan Hooker.

Speaking with Submission Radio recently, Hooker talked about Oliveira’s victory over Ferguson and had an interesting interpretation of the bout: that “El Cucuy” lost because of the lack of a crowd at the UFC APEX.

“It’s pretty obvious to me what’s happened… (Tony)’s a crowd fighter, he draws energy from the crowd,” Hooker said. “Under those big moments, under the pressure, 10, 20, 30-thousand people there, you can’t tell me that doesn’t change the environment of the situation. And Charles Oliveira, to me, he’s a fighter that traditionally doesn’t do very well under the pressure of those big fights. You look at any big fight he’s had in his past, and he freezes, or he’ll crumble under the pressure of those big fights. So, to me, that’s what it was. Tony wasn’t awake. Tony didn’t look like he’d been riled up. And Charles Oliveira was in the zone, in his element, and freely doing his thing.”

Hooker knows a bit about what he speaks. In June, Hooker lost a five-round unanimous decision to Dustin Poirier in one of the best fights of the year. Afterwards, Hooker said noted that the difference between having a crowd and not was more stark than he imagined, and having watched Ferguson’s performance at UFC 256, Hooker is convinced that made a huge difference.

“You can’t tell me that doesn’t change what you’re doing. Everyone is awesome at doing their day job, but it’s like, if you had to do your day job with 20,000 people there, yelling, screaming, getting you hyped up. It’s just the whole – I’ve been through it, I’ve been through it before. I fought twice this year. Once in my hometown in front of a sold-out stadium of my countrymen, and then flying over to Las Vegas to the APEX where those two fought, and it’s dead, it’s quiet. I was the same. I like the crowds, I function well, and I love the pressure. I feel like it just builds. But, it’s the whole week. Open workouts, weigh-ins. When you got the crowds there, you can draw energy from it and it gets you going, or it makes fighters cramp up and freeze.

“Everyone’s got world champion training partners. That’s a thing, there’s a name for it. World Championship training partners. They’re the guys that will kick the arse of the biggest name fighter in your gym, but he struggles to compete in an amateur environment, he struggles to compete in like an in-house gym fight. You see them freeze. You can’t tell me that same thing doesn’t apply at the highest tier of the sport and it’s interesting that we’re just seeing that now. It definitely to me would have changed how that fight played out.”

Hooker could be on to something. Ferguson has competed twice this year without a crowd and coincidentally is now currently on the first losing streak of his career. Or, it could be that Hooker has some issues with Oliveira. Hooker had been calling for a fight with Tony Ferguson, a bout that now seems unlikely to happen, and has previously made it known that he thinks Oliveira isn’t that impressive, an opinion he still holds.

“I’m only one man, I only have my opinion. My opinion is that Charles Oliveira is still a p*ssy,” Hooker said. “Nah, I’m just having a bit of a laugh. He’s just not – he’s a bit whatever to me. He didn’t do anything amazing. He just did some basic fundamental stuff to Tony Ferguson, and Tony Ferguson had no real answer for it. To me he just hadn’t been drilling his fundamentals for a while, and it’s a game of improving your fundamentals and working on them. That’s just the way I saw it. It’s not like I was so impressed with the amazing stuff that Charles Oliveira was doing.”

Unfortunately, a fight between the two does not seem to be in the offing anytime soon. During the interview, Hooker revealed that he has accepted a fight for early next year but would not reveal against whom. Moreover, Hooker also knows that by beating Tony, Oliveira has now set himself up for a title fight or title eliminator bout, and he still has some work to do on that front.

“He beat Tony,” Hooker said. “He beat Tony. If you beat Tony, I would say that leading up to that fight, before that fight is even booked, it’s like, whoever beats Tony Ferguson lines himself up for a title, and I would definitely rather see the winner of that fight for the winner of Conor/Poirier fight. You gotta have two guys who won fights fight for a title. You can’t have guys coming off losses fighting for the title. Gaethje thinks he can just sit around and get a title shot. You can’t come off a loss and fight for a world championship. To me, that’s just not how it works. You need to get back on the horse, get back on your win streak.”

Now, Hooker himself will try to do that and perhaps down the line, he and Oliveira can finally settle up.

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VIDEO STEW

Between the Links.

UFC 256 Fight Motion.

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Kevin Holland on TMZ Sports.

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LISTEN UP

UFC Unfiltered. Co-hosted by Forrest Griffin with interviews of Brandon Moreno and Marlon Vera.

Anik & Florian. Discussing UFC 256 and previewing UFC Vegas 17.

SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

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Thoughts.

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2020 suck ass.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all tomorrow.

EXIT POLL

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Did the lack of crowd affect Ferguson-Oliveira?

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