A Hangman Homecoming: Dan Hooker at UFC Auckland

Dan Hooker
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Dan Hooker of New Zealand is interviewed by Dan Hardy during the UFC weigh-in at Spark Arena on February 22, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dan Hooker squares off with the Paul Felder tonight at UFC Fight Night 168. They will face each other in Auckland, New Zealand. The oceanic country has one outstanding gym. That gym is City Kickboxing.

City Kickboxing has produced some outstanding results over the past year. Most notably, they’ve nurtured Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski. Both are champions. Neither holds a UFC loss. But there are more. Kai Kara France is CKBs flyweight standout. And their two big lightweight prospects are Brad Riddell and Dan “the Hangman” Hooker.

Hooker and Felder have been making waves. The Hangman first floated the idea of a dance with Felder moments after he kneed Jim Miller in the chin. Time passed and the match did not materialise at once. In his last outing, Hooker beat Al Iaquinta and aimed for a fight with Dustin Poirier.

Hooker and Felder have one opponent in common, the Brazilian striker Edson Barboza. Barboza is a dangerous striker. He knocked out Hooker, but lost a controversial decision to Felder.

After Felder beat Barboza, he took to the mic. He announced his intention to fight at the highest level failing which he would focus on his role as an analyst.

And then the online war began. Felder began posting memes, to which the Hangman ostensibly took offence. The tension between the two has steadily grown. The respect  between them after the Miller fight is gone. Earlier this week, Hooker greeted Felder in the traditional Kiwi way.

Hangman Hooker’s resume

Dan Hooker faces his toughest challenge. That doesn’t take anything away from his previous wins. Marc Diakiese, Jim Miller, Gilbert Burns, and Al Iaquinta are all significant opponents.

Iaquinta has beaten Kevin Lee twice. He lasted a full five rounds against champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He took the best shots that Donald Cerrone had to offer.

Marc Diakiese is one of the fanciest and flashiest fighters on the UFC roster. He has several innovative techniques in his arsenal. He’s especially good when it comes to his spinning attacks.

Gilbert Burns is an accomplished Brazilian fighter. Burns has won three world Brazilian Jiu Jitsu titles.

Jim Miller is a veteran of the sport. Miller holds the record for the most number of wins in the UFCs lightweight division.

Now standing before Hooker is a highly cerebral analyst. It will be a fine feather in Hooker’s cap should he pull off the victory in his home country.

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