Report: Dan Hooker to Face Michael Chandler at UFC 257

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 27: (L-R) Dan Hooker of New Zealand punches Dustin Poirier in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 27, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

A report surfaced on Tuesday afternoon that top-ranked lightweight contender Dan Hooker will face former Bellator champion Michael Chandler at UFC 257 on January 23.

Per New Zealand news website Stuff, Dan “The Hangman” Hooker is set to face former Bellator champion Michael Chandler at UFC 257 on January 23.  According to the report, both fighters are in the middle of camp for the fight and a formal announcement from the UFC is expected to be made soon.

UPDATE: Further reports said that more details needed to be finalized.  All details and the fight was made official on Sunday January 03 and confirmed by several sources to ESPN.

Dan Hooker (20-9) is looking to bounce back from a Fight of the Year candidate against Dustin Poirier in June where the two fought to a unanimous decision.  One Hooker was on the wrong side of.  The fight was his second of 2020, following another epic war against Paul Felder in February in his home country of New Zealand.  Though he came up short against Poirier, the fight was seen as a breakthrough performance for Hooker as he held his own against the elite of the division after breaking his way into the upper-echelon of the rankings.  “The Hangman” had recently teased a high profile bout when speaking with Submission Radio though he was unable to confirm the bout at the time.

Michael Chandler vs. Benson Henderson Credit: Bellator MMA

Former Bellator champion Michael Chandler(21-5) will finally be making his UFC debut after having weighed in as the alternate for the lightweight title fight at UFC 254 in October.  Chandler enters the promotion after being one of the most decorated fighters in Bellator history as he set the record for the most victories in title fights and victories overall along with Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.  He most recently fought former UFC champion and two-time Bellator title challenger Benson Henderson in August where he won by first round knockout.

The fight will take place on the undercard of the lightweight main event featuring former two-division champion Conor McGregor and former interim champion Dustin Poirier.  It is expected that either Hooker or Chandler will be called upon to step into the headliner should anything happen to one of the participants in the main event.

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