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Dan Hooker: Featherweight is ‘a division I can really thrive in’ – MMA Root



Dan Hooker: Featherweight is ‘a division I can really thrive in’

Dan Hooker shocked the MMA community earlier this week when he posted a video on a scale that read 146 pounds. That’s a weight Hooker hasn’t reached since 2016 when he was in the middle of the featherweight group with a UFC record of 3-3. Then he moved to 155 and bam – he went 7-1 in his next eight fights.

But the COVID era hasn’t been too kind to Hooker. He’s gone 1-3 in his last four, and even though all of his losses come down to beasts (Poirier, Chandler and Mkahachev), the New Zealand fighter is looking to make some changes … one of which is a move from return to featherweight. . In an interview with Ariel Helwani on MMA Hour, “The Hangman” clarified that the cut wasn’t that bad at all.

“I did the weight!” he said with a laugh. “It was not for me, I know I can make weight. It was to try to convince some people who needed to be convinced, like my coaches. My coaches didn’t really like that I went back to 145, but that’s me, going up a ladder and making it pretty easy if I’m honest. ”

“From when I was in the past to where I am now, obviously the science and the people who are part of the UFC [Performance Institute] that all have been … it has been a smooth journey. It took me two weeks to get off and down to that weight. So if I can do it in two weeks of vacation, you give me a fight, it’s a completely different story. “

“I’m not going to get too far in the weights, but I’m exactly the same weight as I walk light, so going light sucks,” he continued. “I can do lightweight tomorrow if I want to. I could go sit in the sauna and do something light this afternoon. To get down to lightweight, I just diet for a week and then step on a scale and that’s me at lightweight. To get to featherweight, just diet and cut properly, you know what I mean? And it’s something I haven’t had to do since I got back to featherweight. So it’s like doing what other people do, that’s all. “

Hooker framed it as a competitive advantage that he hadn’t taken advantage of. Add that with all the COVID-19 travel and training restrictions and not having your trainers with you, and you can see why you feel the deck has stacked against you.

“For one thing, it’s just … it’s just an advantage that I haven’t been capitalizing on, to be honest,” he said. “Well, there are a number of advantages that I have not taken advantage of and that is only one of them. So it’s like moving forward and learning from the past, making adjustments for the future. And that’s just one of them. Going back, working with my team, that journey opening up to the world. I am excited for the future. I think featherweight is the weight class that I can really thrive in. And it’s a weight class where I can capitalize on all my advantages. ”

“But yes, in the same shift I can go back to New Zealand and in the future I will be training and fighting with a full camp. Traveling with my entire coaching staff. And then competing in a weight class that I feel quite happy with and quite comfortable with. So I’m very excited about the future. “

Going down to featherweight is not a new thought that emerged after losing to Islam Makhachev in October.

“I raised the idea with Eugene earlier in the year and it closed pretty quickly,” Hooker said. “[Because of] the past when I used to make weight. But it is day and night, the advances. the [UFC Performance Institute] It wasn’t even a thing when I used to do featherweight. Now you enter the week of the fight, the PI prepares all your meals, the dietitians are taking care of you. The weight cuts are now just general knowledge. ”

“The way he used to do it when he was fighting was a bit more of a guessing game. And let’s say that the people we now consider idiots used to be considered geniuses at the time. There were a lot of people now thinking ‘Why was he the number one weight loss specialist in the world? That guy didn’t know what he was talking about. Now advances and science are day and night. “

After moving up to lightweight, Hooker said he felt cloudy and drunk and was not mentally sharp at 145. So we understand why his coaches would hesitate to see him come down again. Getting on the scale and gaining weight is one thing. Acting in the cage is another. But if you didn’t even really have to cut to make light weight, well … the sad truth is that everyone else at light weight is definitely going through the right cuts. That’s the tricky thing about weight classes. If you’re not losing more than 20 pounds, someone who is will likely mistreat you.

What do you think, maniacs? Hooker at 145: good idea or grotesque idea?

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