Michael Chandler Says Dan Hooker Is ‘The Saltiest, Nastiest Fighter’

Published 01/05/2021, 12:50 PM EST
SAITAMA, JAPAN – DECEMBER 29: Michael Chandler and Sidney Outlaw compete in the bout during the Bellator Japan – Fedor v Rampage at Saitama Super Arena on December 29, 2019 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)


Michael Chandler finally has his debut fight in the UFC. While it could have been a title fight if the UFC 254 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje fell apart, that didn’t happen. Chandler was an alternate for that fight but now has a date and opponent for himself.

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Chandler will be facing Dan Hooker on the UFC 257 card, which is headlined by Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. While many believe it is an easier test than the others people have suggested for Chandler, the man himself believes he has been dealt a harder fight.

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“Truthfully, he may be one of the saltiest, nastiest, toughest challenges. Both physically and with his attributes inside the Octagon. I think I match up better with Poirier than with Hooker. With Gaethje than Hooker. I think I match up better with Tony Ferguson than I do Hooker.”

What he says about how he feels he matches up with Hooker vs the others is something only he can know. However, it would be a little bit hyperbolic to say Hooker is a worse matchup for him than Tony Ferguson, Gaethje, or Poirier. It is a tough challenge, but the others are just as tough if not tougher.

Michael Chandler: Is Hooker a bad matchup?

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Dan Hooker is one of the best strikers in the UFC and a striking matchup won’t be the best outcome for Chandler. Even though Chandler himself is a very solid striker, he will have to employ his wrestling skills to definitively beat Hooker.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JUNE 26: Dan Hooker of New Zealand poses on the scale during the UFC weigh-in at UFC APEX on June 26, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

There is nothing particularly unconventional about this matchup, or anything that would make it worse on paper to someone like Poirier or Gaethje. After all, Gaethje is also one of the best strikers in the UFC, along with having a wrestling pedigree. Poirier literally beat Hooker in a five-round fight, proving his superiority over him.

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Hopefully, Chandler is just trying to set the fight hype up by promoting Hooker as a valid opponent. If he builds Hooker up and then beats him, it works well for him. If he does that and loses, at least he promoted the guy who beat him as a genuine threat rather than being embarrassed with an upset loss.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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