With all eyes on the UFC 257 main event between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker look to steal their shine with their own fight. No doubt hoping to impress the current champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov, enough to return for one last fight. Really, a big performance in Abu Dhabi would essentially allow them to jump the line right in front of the main event pair.
And they may have done just that. Well, one man, anyway.
Michael Chandler finally made his way from Bellator MMA to give an answer to the long-standing question as to whether he could compete with the UFC’s elite. If you have followed Chandler’s career, you know he has an intrinsic drive to compete no matter what promotion he belongs to. So it was no surprise that he chose to walk through the fire when he signed the contract to fight the dangerous New Zealand native Dan Hooker.
Dan Hooker came into UFC 257 wanting to spoil the debut of Michael Chandler, getting back on track from his last loss to Dustin Poirier in what was a contender for Fight of the Year in 2020. The only man in the title picture to not fight for a major title in a big promotion, Dan Hooker knew that this was his chance to shine and push his name to title contention.
In the end, it was “Iron” Mike Chandler having arguably the biggest night of his career. He showed the world just why he carries the “Iron Mike” nickname when he connected with a huge left hook bomb, dropping Dan Hooker early in the first round. Chandler’s moment inside the UFC was worth the wait with this spectacular finish in his debut.
PROS GIVE THEIR TAKE
Check out how the pros reacted to the co main event at UFC 257.
— Patricio Pitbull (@PatricioPitbull) January 24, 2021
Michael Chandler !!! Excellent job my man . Sanford MMA #UFC257
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) January 24, 2021
— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) January 24, 2021
I didn't see this coming 😳#UFC257
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) January 24, 2021
OK I’m excited about Chandler, that was awesome 🇺🇸
— BONY (@JonnyBones) January 24, 2021
— Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) January 24, 2021
Wowzerzzzz what a performance #UFC257
— Katlyn Chookagian (@blondefighter) January 24, 2021
Damn 😳 that power is for real. #UFCFightIsland8
— Tatiana Suarez (@tatianaufc) January 24, 2021
This is crazyyyyy!! UNREAL!! What a promo too! Khabib is definitely watching! I like that match up a lot! #UFC257
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) January 24, 2021
Mike Chandler 👀👀👀#UFC257
— Adrian Yanez (@yanezmma) January 24, 2021
Holy moly!!! Wow what a UFC debut @MikeChandlerMMA congratulations
— Michelle Waterson (@karatehottiemma) January 24, 2021
Sheeeeesh. That’s how you make a statement
— Anthony Pettis (@Showtimepettis) January 24, 2021
Well I feel much better about my career at this point lol
— David Rickels (@TheCaveman316) January 24, 2021
I don’t know if Dan Hooker just retired there or what but if so, that sucks. It wasn’t his night but I’ve said for years that Dan Hooker is my favorite current UFC fighter. Skillset, durability, guts- he’s just incredible to watch. No matter what, respect to The Hangman #UFC257
— Tanner Boser (@BulldozerBoser) January 24, 2021