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‘He ain’t Superman’ - Hooker confident he can make Makhachev ‘look a bit silly’ at UFC 267

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Dan Hooker isn’t buying the hype behind Islam Makhachev.

Dan Hooker after his UFC 266 win over Nasrat Haqparast.
Dan Hooker after his UFC 266 win over Nasrat Haqparast.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Because of his current win streak and his association with Khabib Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev’s been getting quite a push. The 30-year-old Dagestani will try to extend his eight-fight win streak when he faces replacement opponent Dan Hooker at UFC 267.

Makhachev’s manager Ali Abdelaziz already predicted a win for his client, saying Hooker’s only chance for victory is through a lucky punch. “The Hangman,” however, isn’t buying into the hype.

“I’m not convinced. If they’re just doing this to kinda construct some mentality in him that he’s indestructible… I’m not buying it,” Hooker said in a recent media scrum. “I don’t buy it. He puts his pants on like I put my pants on in the morning.

“He ain’t Superman. I’m very confident.”

Knowing what both men bring to the table, fans already have a vague idea of how the fight can go. But if you ask Hooker, he’s planning for a dominant win and silence all detractors.

“I feel like that above, like, snatching his neck or catching him with a knee would make me feel better on the inside, give me a warm feeling in my belly,” he said.

“That would really shut everyone up, if I just got in there and outclass him. Then what’s everyone gonna say? And prove where your grappling lies in the division and make him look a bit silly. That’s my intention and my plan for the fight.”

As for Makhachev’s touted wrestling and grappling game, Hooker isn’t too worried.

“That’s the only way he’s gonna beat me is by decision. I feel like he’s gonna try and hold me down for two rounds. That would be their plan coming into the fight. He’s not a big ground-and-pound guy. He’s not, like, a real slick submission specialist.

“He’s more like pressuring guys and tiring them out and forcing them to give up a submission. As opposed to being like a Charles Oliveira, like a real slick submission specialist that throws up all these different submission attempts and catches guys.

“They can say whatever they want to say, but I know full well they respect my skills. Without a doubt.”

UFC 267 happens on October 30 in Abu Dhabi.