UFC: Plenty at stake for Dustin Poirier when he takes on Dan Hooker
Dubai: There’s a lot more at stake for third-ranked UFC lightweight contender Dustin Poirier when he fights New Zealand’s Dan Hooker in the main event at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night at the Apex Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Not only is the former interim champion determined to make amends for his one-side loss to world champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi last September, he also hopes a victory will reestablish himself as a legitimate title contender and help generate money for his Good Fight Foundation charity.
The Abu Dhabi defeat snapped a six-fight unbeaten streak for Poirier, who had dominated big-name opponents such as Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje and Anthony Pettis in the explosive 155lb division.
“We were thinking about putting something together this last minute, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to prep with the foundation, and meet with the board and get things moving,” Poirier (UFC record 17-5-0) said during the UFC’s virtual media day on Thursday evening.
“But we have some other stuff for after this fight we’re gonna auction off, my fight kit, the money we make from it is gonna go to this cause, with the local business in Lafayette.”
‘The Diamond’ weighs in as the half-price favourite against Hooker who he describes as a “rangy fighter”.
The Kiwi may not boast the same profile as his opponent, but has made a name for himself with victories over Paul Felder, Edson Barboza and Gilbert Burns.
Hooker (UFC 10-4), said during the virtual media press conference that he was excited “when it comes to his pairing with Poirier”.
“It’s very easy to get excited when you’re facing an opponent like Dustin Poirier,” he added. “I know he’s going to come to fight, and he’s going to bring the exact same thing that I’m going to bring. We both look to finish, and both look to put on a show.
“I as well as the fans know why this is going to be a good one. Because we’ve never been in a boring fight our entire lives. I’m not expecting that to change come Saturday.
“This is combat sports. The game can change so quickly, and I feel like the winner of this fight cements himself as the next guy, or the guy that’s going to step in should Khabib or Justin get injured. The guy that wins this fight is the guy that aligns himself to step in for the title shot.”
Beyond the Poirier vs Hooker fight the card features an interesting co-main event between welterweight slugger Mike Perry and grappling specialist Mickey Gall.
Main card starts at 4am UAE on Sunday, with the preliminary card starting at 1am UAE
155lb: Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker
170lb: Mickey Gall vs Mike Perry
185lb: Brendan Allen vs Kyle Daukaus
265lb: Maurice Greene vs Gian Villante
135lb: Aspen Ladd vs Sara McMann — cancelled
155lb: Luis Pena vs Khama Worthy
125lb: Mara Romero Borella vs Miranda Maverick
265lb: Tanner Boser vs Philipe Lins
150lb: Sean Woodson vs Julian Erosa
170lb: Ramiz Brahimaj vs Takashi Sato
115lb: Jinh Yu Frey vs Kay Hansen
125lb: Alexa Grasso vs Ji Yeon Kim
145lb: Jordan Griffin vs Youssef Zalal