Dan Hooker describes intense training with Israel Adesanya: ‘You’re just in the middle, like a shark tank’

Dan Hooker, Israel Adesanya
Mandatory Credit: Photosport

UFC lightweight Dan Hooker is preparing for his upcoming fight against Claudio Puelles. At the same time, the New Zealand native is helping his City Kickboxing teammate Israel Adesanya prepare for his upcoming title fight at UFC 281. 

The 155-pounder appeared on the Between Two Beers podcast to discuss training camp and how he’s helping Adesanya, the UFC middleweight champion, prepare for Alex Pereira. The 8-year UFC veteran revealed a pre-fight exercise that helps the fighters react to certain situations. 

“That workout we do is called spider so you do that around the time you fight, so if you’re fighting on a Saturday night, we all come in on a Saturday night,” he said. “It’s like a fight simulation, we do a bunch of exercises to fatigue ourselves and then you just get rotated through, so there’s no winning spider… you’re just in the middle, like a shark tank, switching guys every 20-30 seconds after you’re already extremely fatigued.”

Dan Hooker Is Confident The Training Methods Is Useful

The 32-year old believes the stimulation helps composure during high-pressure fight situations. The goal of the exercise is to acclimate the fighter to the unhinged environment inside and outside of the octagon.

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“It’s my job during spider to spike the guy’s adrenaline, like give him that feeling of getting dropped in a fight and then you start remembering ‘oh man, there’s 50 million people watching this’,” he said. “Obviously I’m not teeing off on him…I’m experienced enough in the sport that I’m mainly just punching his shoulders or slapping with this part of my hand.”

Hooker praised long-time friend Adesanya, who he says is very hard to hit due to his great defense. 

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“He’s a very hard man to hit. He’s an incredibly hard man to hit with your hands,” he said. “You can look at the history of combat sports, the people that live forever and the people that win the most world titles and go the furthest have the best defense.”

The two teammates will both be competing on Nov. 12 at UFC 281. Hooker (21-12) is looking to get back on track after losing his last two fights. His last win was a unanimous decision over Nasrat Haqparast last September. Adesanya (23-1) will be defending his UFC middleweight title for the seventh time in the main event against former kickboxing opponent Alex Pereira. City Kickboxing is looking to have a successful night in Madison Square Garden in New York City. 

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Marc Ray has lived his entire life in Houston, Texas, where he was born, raised and attended the University of Houston, studying broadcast journalism. As you may imagine, he spends much of his time watching mixed martial arts as part of his daily routine — not only to pump himself up, but also because he deeply enjoys the sport. Ray has worked for Houston Public Media, where he interned in the newsroom and produced community stories. Ray also created sports features in Houston for El Gato Media Network and occasionally produced content for an internship at AARP.