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It’s only a little more than halfway through 2020, and Dan Hooker has already been involved in two of the year’s most brutal battles.
After edging Paul Felder via split decision in the UFC Fight Night 168 main event on home soil in Auckland on Feb. 23, things didn’t go “The Hangman’s” way at UFC on ESPN 12 Saturday, as he lost a thrilling unanimous decision to former interim champ Dustin Poirier at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
The 30-year-old Kiwi started quickly, running out to an early lead on the scorecards thanks to a varied arsenal of left hooks, low kicks and body work over the course of the first two rounds. Hooker faded down the stretch, however, as Poirier took control with accurate power punching, solid takedown defense and an active submission game.
The defeat snapped a three-bout winning streak for Hooker, who had harbored dreams of a lightweight title shot heading into his matchup with Poirier. Nonetheless, Hooker is taking his defeat in stride.
“Quick message for the people that support me. Credit to Poirier better man on the night, no regrets, no excuses,” he wrote on Twitter. “Minor setbacks ain't a major for me.”
Hooker was immediately transported to a local hospital following his defeat. Despite the physical nature of the bout, the City Kickboxing representative claims to have emerged relatively unscathed.
“I got checked out the hospital,” Hooker said in a video statement on social media. “Everything’s all good. Just a couple stitches on the eye, but that’s the game we play. No worries. It’s just a small setback and I’ll be back.”
Quick message for the people that support me. Credit to Poirier better man on the night, no regrets, no excuses. Minor setbacks ain't a major for me. #teamhangman #rideordieonly pic.twitter.com/oS7kpcFWAf— Dan Hangman Hooker (@danthehangman) June 28, 2020