Hooker vs. Ferguson is Rumored to Take Place at UFC 254

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  • Dustin Poirier is no longer being considered as an option to fight Tony Ferguson. 
  • Rumors point towards Dan Hooker taking this fight in either October or November. 
  • Coach Bareman claims that Hooker vs. Ferguson is now a real possibility. 

For weeks, reports were surfacing that Tony Ferguson was taking on Dustin Poirier in the co-main event of UFC 254. News then broke that contract negotiations between Poirier and the UFC fell through and the fight was scrapped. It now appears we could see Hooker vs. Ferguson taking place on this card.

Dan Hooker is one of the most exciting lightweight fighters in the UFC. Despite losing to Dustin Poirier earlier this year, he remains just a fight or two away from the title. Today, we’re going to look at what could lead to this bout coming together.

Let’s get into it!

Dana White Claims Negotiations With Dustin Poirier Are Now Over

There aren’t many fighters in the UFC that are as respected as Dustin Poirier is. The former lightweight interim champion has taken a head down, gritty approach to his career in the UFC. He’s widely considered one of the most exciting fighters in the world and is always just one impressive win away from a shot at the belt.

In September of 2019, Poirier took on Khabib Nurmagomedov for the unified lightweight championship of the world. Most UFC betting sites listed Dustin as the significant underdog heading into fight night. He put up a solid performance, almost catching Khabib in a submission, yet ultimately lost the fight in the 3rd round.

It would be almost nine months before Poirier stepped back into the cage. This time, he took on the surging Dan Hooker in the main event of an ESPN card. These two men battled for five rounds, throwing nearly everything they had at each other. Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier was awarded the win via decision in what is still considered the “Fight of the Year” for 2020.

Everyone knew that Dustin would be given a big fight after such an impressive win in June. News finally surfaced that he was taking on Tony Ferguson this October. Unfortunately, contract negotiations with the UFC fell through and Poirier is no longer being considered for this fight. Dana White confirmed this news during a media scrum after last weekend’s card.

Some feel this is just posturing by the UFC. They know this is a fight that would draw in a huge number of viewers. If they wait, Poirier may decide to take the fight for less money than he initially asked for.

If, however, the UFC is serious about moving away from the Poirier fight, Dan Hooker would be a fantastic replacement. It seems the New Zealander would be willing to take this fight, as well.

Coach Bareman Claims Hooker vs. Ferguson is Now a Real Possibility

Over the past few years, New Zealand has turned into a global MMA hotspot. City Kickboxing, the largest and most successful gym in the country, has produced several top-level fighters including Israel Adesanya, Kai Kara-France, and Dan Hooker. Many of these fighters are now sitting at the top or near the top of their respective divisions.

Eugene Bareman, head coach at City Kickboxing, is responsible for much of the gym’s success. He invests a huge amount of time into each of his fighters. This week, Bareman was asked about the possibility of Hooker vs. Ferguson taking place in October. He claims Dan would likely be willing to compete, yet he would prefer the date to be pushed back a month or two.

“October is a bit early for us, otherwise we would jump in there straight away for sure. But if they can push it back. Dan just got off concussion protocol now, so of this week. So, he’s only just started back training,” Bareman said. “So, obviously October might be a hard push. He would do it. I would have to talk him out of it, but he would probably do it one hundred percent. But Dan’s just back now, he’s getting fit again, it’s good to have him back in the gym. So, yeah, if they can’t come to terms, and it sounds like they haven’t come to terms, then we’ll jump in there and fight Tony for sure.”

That certainly makes sense. Dan Hooker took an incredible amount of damage in the fight against Dustin Poirier. It’s no surprise to hear that he’s only just beginning to get back into the training room.

Most agree this is the next best option. Dan Hooker is known for his dangerous striking arsenal and would likely keep the fight on the feet against Tony Ferguson. We’ll need to wait and see how negotiations with the UFC play out over the next few weeks.

Later this month, City Kickboxing’s only UFC champion will put his belt on the line once again.

Adesanya vs. Costa is Now Less Than Two Weeks Away

As we just mentioned, City Kickboxing is now one of the most successful MMA gyms in the world. For now, Israel Adesanya remains the gym’s top fighter. He’s the current middleweight champion of the UFC with a perfect 19-0 record.

On September 27th, Adesanya will look to defend his title for the second time against fellow undefeated striker, Paulo Costa. This fight will serve as the main event of UFC 253. Many feel it’s one of the biggest fight cards this year.

Bovada, one of the best online sportsbooks in the country, is offering some great odds on this fight. Israel is currently listed as the -160 favorite. Costa comes into this fight as the +130 underdog.

This fight is hugely important for the middleweight division. Israel Adesanya has repeatedly stated that he plans to move up in weight in the future. A loss to Paulo Costa might derail these plans.

City Kickboxing will certainly prepare Adesanya as well as they possibly can. Based on what’s being said, we may soon see Hooker vs. Ferguson, as well. Israel Adesanya would be a massively helpful training partner for the lightweight contender leading into this bout.

Who do you think Tony Ferguson should fight next? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Zack McGovern / Author

Zack is a hardcore sports fans with years of professional writing experience. He’s also a fan of sports betting and loves offering picks on his favorite teams and athletes. If he’s not writing about different sporting events, he’s probably watching them from home. Zack’s a hardcore MMA and NFL fan, but he’s happy to cover news on the NHL, MLS, and MLB. If you’re interested in making a few wagers on different sports, feel free to check out some of his recent articles.