Kiwi Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker faced talented grappler Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns at UFC 226 where he knocked out Burns in the first round. Hooker has been on a role since his move up to lightweight division. With 4-0 in the division, Hooker finds himself at #14 in the rankings and knocks the door for a top 10 opponent.
Hooker’s striking coach Eugene Bareman has a name in mind, of former UFC lightweight champion and #8 ranked contender Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis.
“I like the Anthony Pettis fight next, that’s what I was thinking the next day,” Bareman told MMA Fighting.
“I think Dan likes that fight as well. Dan’s a hard man to read sometimes, but I think he’d like that fight. You know how it is, we want top-10 guys, so any of them will do. We just want the opportunity.
“Obviously, I think Dan can beat him,” Bareman added. “I think with Dan’s style against Anthony’s style, there will be a lot of things we can take advantage of. It would be a good fight for the fans and the promotion too. Anthony came out of his fight pretty unscathed too, so I think that fight is a real possibility. Off the top of me head, that’s the only matchup I can think of.”
Bareman mentioned a small detail in Hooker’s striking exchange which floored Burns, which proves what a skilled fighter he is and that he’s ready for a highly ranked opponent.
“When Dan threw the left hook that finished the fight, he showed a great skill that he has,” said the City Kickboxing head coach.
“He dropped his chin and he put his shoulder up. It puts his chin in a nice position so if he does miss his shot he can absorb his opponent’s shot. They both absorbed left hooks in that finishing sequence, but Gilbert didn’t absorb it the same way because he didn’t use that little detail.
“It’s something you only see in high level striking, it takes years to learn those kinds of things. I might be talking to you about something completely different if Gilbert had been striking for as long as he has been grappling.”