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Dan Hooker is extra motivated heading into well-deserved clash with Edson Barboza

Dan Hooker is extra motivated heading into well-deserved clash with Edson Barboza

Dan Hooker isn’t letting his guard down before fighting #6 ranked Edson Barboza at UFC on FOX 31.

Hooker, who has taken the UFC’s lightweight division by storm, has enjoyed tremendous success since moving up from featherweight. After building a four-fight winning streak at 155-pounds, the Kiwi fighter was seemingly being avoided by many lightweight contenders positioned above him in the UFC’s lightweight rankings. Hooker had even started referring to himself as #MrInvisible because no one was responding to his requests.

However, a two-fight skid for Barboza, who has long been one of the most dangerous strikers in the division, has left the Brazilian scrambling to find his place in the division and there’s arguably no better way to test his current status than a fight with the rising 28-year-old from New Zealand.

Speaking to John Hyon Ko of Kumite Radio, Hooker explained that fighting Edson Barboza helps him to be extremely motivated during his preparation.

“It’s gonna be super easy to be motivated for this fight,” Hooker told John Hyon Ko of Kumite Radio.

“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy camp, but when you’re fighting a guy like Edson Barboza, it’s easier. It’s easy to get to the gym, and it’s easy to give it your best every day. If they gave me like a mug, like someone that sucked, it’s hard to get up in the morning, and it’s hard to get to the gym. It’s hard to push yourself to like the places you need to go to get prepared. For a guy like Edson, I’m looking forward to focusing on the top.”

Knowing that Barboza’s best work wasn’t on display against high-level grapplers such as Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kevin Lee, “The Hangman” is preparing for the best version of Barboza and not the one who was pummeled into each fighter’s respective highlight reels. After being mauled in consecutive fights (and suffering consecutive defeats for the first time in his career), Barboza has since changed camps and taken an extended break away from the cage.

“I fought on the same cards as those, so I was there, I have seen it,” Hooker told John Hyon Ko.

“He’s taken a solid amount of time off from those fights, so I’m sure that he’s well-recovered. I think I’ve fought since then, when I fought Jim Miller that night, so he’s taken a good amount of time off. I’m expecting like a very good Edson Barboza. I know he’s changed camps, he’s training at American Top Team, so I’m sure he’s made big improvements in his game. I’m not going in there expecting a worn down Edson Barboza.”

With this matchup heralded as a ‘striker’s delight,’ Hooker explained that it is the type of fight that will come down to a “few small details”.

“I’m as I’m as interested [in this matchup] as everyone else. You know, people always think like, oh, how’s this fight going to go? Like, if I knew I’d tell you, but it could go either way. It’s not until we get in there and we actually challenge ourselves and test ourselves on the day until we find out.”

Tune in as Dan “The Hangman” Hooker looks to make it five in a row in one of the most talent-stacked divisions in mixed martial arts on December 15 at UFC on FOX 31 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.



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