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Dan Hooker looking for redemption with win over James Vick - Hooker

Dan Hooker looking for redemption with win over James Vick

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Dan Hooker had everything going his way untill he stumbled upon Edson Barboza. Prior to facing him, Hooker was riding a four fight winning streak. The icing on the cake was that all the four were stoppage victories. But since he has now been on the receiving end of a knockout himself, its time for him to rebuild.

His next fight is scheduled with James Vick on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 4. Vick is coming off his first back to back losses in the UFC. Regardless, Hooker feels that defeating the #15 rankled lightweight can put him back into the mix.

“It’s not a build-up fight,” Hooker told MMA Junkie. “This fight – a win over James Vick puts me right back in the mix. It puts me back to where I was before that last fight. I just go out there and fight my style, do my thing and people seem to like it. People seem to like watching people get knocked out, and I’ve knocked a few people out. I’m sure the fans like to see me fight, and I’m grateful that the UFC gave me another opportunity like this.”

In the past, Hooker had relied heavily on his ability to take damage. That was evident in his fighting style when he defeated the likes of Jim Miller and Gilbert Burns. However, that same reckless style of fighting led to his downfall against Barboza. Despite showing heart, “Hangman” eventually succumbed to a body shot in the third round. The defeat has had him thinking back again and hence he has made necessary changes to his game.

“That’s something that I was already very well aware of, that I was capable of,” Hooker said. “That’s something I used to rely on in the past, just going out there and knowing I was tougher than the other guy. But when you get to a certain level, you can’t rely on that thing. So I added new things to my game – changed my approach to the sport.”

“I did make a number of mistakes and I’ve corrected every single one of them,” Hooker said. “It’s never one thing that leads to a result like that – it’s always a multitude of things. If you focus on one thing, you forget about the other 10 things that you did wrong. I feel like we’re going to see this in this fight.”

 

Dan-Hooker

Dan isn’t paying much attention to Vick’s recent setback. He knows he is going against a taller fighter who will have a reach advantage against him. He knows that he will meet a better version of James than the one who got defeated in the previous two outings.

“I feel like whatever mistakes he made in those fights, he would have corrected – so yeah, it was tough fights,” Hooker said.  “Gaethje is top five. Felder, well he’s No. 10 now, and he gave him one heck of a fight. So I have a lot of respect for James Vick. I think he’s a dangerous opponent, a tough opponent, and I’m sure he feels the same about me.

“It’s an interesting challenge: tallest fighter I’ve ever come across. It’s a new challenge. I’m looking forward to it.”

With the influx of talent from New Zealand recently in the UFC, City Kickboxing in Auckland has made it’s mark. Fighters such as Hooker, Alexander Volkanovski and interim middleweight champ Israel Adesanya are beginning to cement their place on the UFC rosters.

“The storm was brewing for a very long time before he got in the UFC,” Hooker said. “That was something that I knew was inevitable. So to see it all play out and to see how things went is not a surprise for me. It’s something that we as a team expected because we knew the kind of talent and the kind of skills he possessed. All the bravado and the things like that, he really backs it up in the gym and he backs it up in his fights. He’s a fighter at heart.”

Read more:

UFC on FOX 31 Results – Edson Barboza Decimates Dan Hooker for Three Rounds

Dan Hooker: These guys are getting hurt when they face me

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