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Dan Hooker Talks Michael Chandler Bout, Future, Glove Removal

Dan Hooker made an appearance on Submission Radio to discuss his recent bout with Michael Chandler and more.

On his loss at UFC 257

“What can you say? What can you say? You have good days, bad days. And like, you prepare, you go into these kinds of things and you prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario, but even that took the cake. Even that surprised me how bad it went. That was the very surprising thing. So, what can you say? What can you say? I have no words to describe that. You come to, and then you’re just like, wow, I’ve just wasted four months, four months of my life for that.”

“That’s the funny thing, I zigged when I should have zagged, that’s all it is. Fighting is like a mixture of thinking and your reactions. You’re balancing your processed thought and then your reactions. I felt like I was calm, could see everything, was thinking, was sharp in there, just relied on my reaction to get out of the way of that punch, and it let me down. Yeah, it’s hard to describe. It’s like such an obvious error and such a very costly mistake.”

“He changed levels. I think I relied on my reaction time. He sold the level change well. I thought he was going for a takedown, comes upstairs with a punch. There’s a million things I could’ve done that would’ve changed that. There’s a million different reactions that I could’ve done and that not happen. But it did. What can you do? I certainly don’t have a time machine. I think Floyd Mayweather has a time machine. If anyone has a time machine, Floyd Mayweather has a time machine. I do not have a time machine.”

Why Dan took his gloves off after the fight, not retiring, and being just as disappointed with his loss to Chandler as his loss to Poirier

“You’re always frustrated after a loss. Yeah, like, a balance of everything. Like, of sheer frustration, you’re disappointed. And then you get back to the hotel. In that moment, I was like, ‘I’m done. I’m finished with this shitty sport. I’m done.’ And then you get back to the hotel and you sit down and think about it, and you realize you’re not good at anything else either (laughs). I was kind of thinking, shit, I’ve kind of painted myself into a bit of a corner here (laughs). You can’t like… yeah, people think you’re gonna be rolling around in depression and then not getting out of bed, but I know what it is. This is a sport I’ve been doing and following for my entire adult life. So, it’s always a possibility. But you’re not like rolling around. Like, a loss like this, you’re not rolling around in depression, like super upset. It’s kind of self-explanatory, and it is what is. I can honestly say, I’m not any more upset than when I lost the Poirier fight. Like, people are gauging the fan reaction to the fight, or how they felt about the fight. But that doesn’t mean that that’s a true representation of how you feel about the fight. Like, I’m as upset about that fight – well, it’s a little bit different. The fan reaction was good to the last one, the Poirier loss. You pretty much got the worst-case scenario in the last fight. But I’m just as disappointed about both. Both are losses. Both over time – and you understand that if you follow the sport enough, people remember, ‘that was a great fight, that was a great fight’. Then time passes, you know, two years, ‘oh, did he fight Dustin Poirier?’ Five years later, five years after the fight, they just look up your record and they just see the red and the green, they just see win and loss. And so I understand that in this sport, losing is losing, and winning is winning. It’s that same thing, an inch or a mile. It doesn’t matter. If you win, you win, and if you lose, you lose. And if you follow this sport long enough, you see that that happens time and time again.”

On winning being a motivator for Dan to erase the last loss at UFC 257 from his mind

“It’s just like a constant ringing in your ear, and over time it will irritate you long enough that it’s like an ich you need to scratch, and it’s like you need to get back in there and avenge it. And the only thing that I’ve found that will ever get rid of that, is a win, is to turn that around. We’re in the sport where you’re as good as your last fight. So yeah, if that answers your question.”

Why getting finished so quickly was like a bad dream

“You invest so much into this sport. You invest so much. Like, you prepare for a bad case, but that’s like a whole other level. That’s the first time that that’s ever happened to me in my career, to not only lose, but to lose in that kind of fashion. But you’re out back and you’re fine. Like, you go back to the hotel, I was completely fine. You don’t even feel like you’ve been in a fight. At least if you go out there, you fight your heart out, you get busted up, someone gets the better of you, but you know you tried. You went out on your shield, you tried, you fought hard. That’s a lot easier to take, because you went out there. I didn’t even feel like I got in a fight. We arrived back in the hotel, I was like, was that? You’re more thinking, is that a bad dream? You’re just in like more of a bad dream case scenario.”

Thoughts on Dustin beating Conor

Oh, that’s a guy that’s earned it. Like, his catchphrase is ‘paid in full’, and that’s one hundred percent what it is. That guy wears his heart on his sleeve, that guy goes out there and fights his heart out every single fight and goes out and continually puts it on the line. So, it’s good to see a result for a fighter like that, or a fighter which I see like a lot of similarities with our careers.”

On wanting to take a little time before his next fight

“I’m back in the gym, I’m training, I’m wrestling, I’m grappling. But getting hit in the head is not even a thought of mine for the coming months. Like, you just gotta be smart about it. So, I’m not even thinking about that. So, I don’t want to sit here and say the headlines come out, ‘oh, Dan Hooker’s calling out this guy, Dan Hooker’s calling out this guy’, because at this stage right now, I’m not even thinking about it. That will come when I’m back in the gym and feeling a hundred percent, or I’m feeling pretty good, when I’m ready to fight. When I’m ready to fight and get back in there, I feel like that’s a conversation. But to sit here and to say names and to say I’m gonna fight this guy and say I want this guy when it’s so far down the track, I feel like that would just be talking shit.”

Wanting to get back in sync with his teammates at CKB

“I feel like it would be good to – cause I’ve been out of sync with the boys for a while, I’ve been out of sync. It’s pretty cool watching, I get pretty jealous watching the other boys getting on the same card or like roughly round the same time, and they’re like moving as a team and all like in it together. That’s cool to watch. But that’s something I’ve had to for the last year kind of sit out of sync with my team. And I’ll get back in the gym and they’re all away fighting and things. So, it will be cool to jump back in sync with like Israel, Kai, Brad, Volk and the rest of the boys. So, that works like timeline wise as well. You know, if they bang these fights out in March as well, and a few months after March, yeah, it will be cool. Timeline-wise, it will be cool to get back in sync with my team and the boys.” 

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