NEW YORK – Dan Hooker is coming off a fight, and he already has a date in mind for his comeback.
The UFC lightweight is targeting a fight at UFC 284, which is set to take place in Perth, Australia on February 11. The request to the UFC comes after his TKO win over Claudio Puelles on Saturday’s UFC 281 main card.
“I feel like I deserve to fight on the first map on my path,” Hooker told reporters during the UFC 281 post-fight press conference. feel like I’ve done enough to earn a place on this map. I said (I will fight) absolutely anyone who wants to come out there and fight on that date. It will be good to train with my training partner, Alexander Volkanovski, for this date, for this card. So any man for this date.
Hooker isn’t interested in calling anyone for the event. He mainly cares about fighting close to home.
“The best name that raises their hand for that date will get it,” Hooker said. “I will fight absolutely anyone, just like my whole career. I want to fight the best.
As for his return on Saturday, the victory over Puelles was important.
Hooker was on a two-fight, 1-4 slip in his last five fights entering UFC 281. The win put him back in the win column and did a lot for his mental well-being.
“It was special to me. It was special to me,” Hooker said. “Obviously to prove it to everyone and stuff like that, but it was special to me because I took everything for granted.
“I took it for granted to go to the gym every day. I took being surrounded by my training partners and the best coaches in the world, I took it for granted. I can admit it. And it wasn’t until those people were taken from me, and I was alone and stuck away from them and doing it under those circumstances, that I realized how much those people really meant to me. I feel like everyone I spoke to could understand how much I loved this training camp.
“(City Kickboxing trainer) Eugene (Bareman), he was pushing hard and this and that and kicking our ass. I loved every second. …That’s why you could see me having so much fun. It’s just pure appreciation for my team, pure appreciation for my coaches, pure appreciation for all the people around me who love and support me. I’m a dangerous man when I’m happy.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s Event Center for UFC 281.