Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (20-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC)
Featherweight (145lbs): 3-3 (UFC)
Lightweight (155lbs): 7-2 (UFC)
Dan Hooker is a shining example of what leaving an excessive weight cut behind can do for the UFC career of some of these fighters.
Prior to his UFC debut, outside of the promotion, Hooker fought at 155lbs and was an Australian Fighting Championships Lightweight Champion in 2013. However, when Dan got his shot in the UFC the next year, he moved down to the featherweight division as so many fighters do when they make it to the ‘big leagues’. Though Hooker never missed weight at featherweight, he struggled mightily, earning a .500 record.
Hooker faced some good opponents at featherweight and all of his wins were by stoppage, while all of his losses were by way of unanimous decision. And it’s well known that fighters who cut a lot of weight typically suffer in the cardio and damage taking aspects of their game.
Hooker moved up to the lightweight division in 2017 and went on an absolute tear, rattling off a four fight win streak and finishing all four opponents. Ross Pearson, Marc Diakiese, Jim Miller and Gilbert Burns were the opponents for this solid run to welcome Hooker to the 155lbs division. Needless to say, but it put the whole lightweight division on notice and forced them to just marvel at how a man that stands at 6’0″ tall with a 75.5″ reach ever made 145lbs in the first place.
Even in Hooker’s first lightweight loss, against Edson Barboza in late 2018, displayed just how much the weight cut had helped him. Hooker took a massive beating in that fight, especially to the body. And Dan’s ability to hang in there till midway through the third round before completely collapsing was a true testament to his durability (that has been magnified by the elimination of an excessive weight cut).
After the loss, Hooker finished James Vick, beat Al Iaquinta by unamious deicison, and was in an absolute war with Paul Felder and just edged out the split decision. In Hooker’s most recent fight against Dustin Poirier, he again showed off his durability and cardio in a spectacular fight in which he matched the pace of the fight for five rounds. Hooker is a fighter that would be exciting in any weight class, and thanks to elimination of that big weight cut, he is now quickly rising through one of the most stacked divisions within the UFC.