UFC lightweight contender, Dan Hooker has finally returned to his home and family in his native New Zealand following an almost six-week period spent in quarantine following his appearance at UFC 257 on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi, UAE back in January.

Spending four-weeks in Abu Dhabi following his co-main feature appearance at the pay-per-view event, Hooker recently completed a follow up two-week quarantine period on his return to New Zealand, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Posting a heartwarming video,https://www.instagram.com/p/CMITyGCBx_Q/ captioned “freedom” on his official Instagram over the weekend, Hooker finally left quarantine, with his partner and young daughter awaiting him on exit from the quarantine hotel.

Making his return to New Zealand, the City Kickboxing striker dropped his second consecutive defeat at the ‘Fight Island’ event — suffering a stunning first round knockout blemish to former three-time Bellator lightweight champion, promotional debutante, Michael Chandler. The defeat followed a Fight of the Year contender against former interim champion, and event headliner, Dustin Poirier at UFC Vegas 3 last June, where he suffered a unanimous decision loss.

Sitting at #8 in the official rankings, speculation was rife regarding the fighting future of Hooker following his knockout loss to Chandler, as he immediately removed his gloves, leaving them inside the Octagon after the defeat.

Clearing up his stance on fighting during an interview with Submission Radio in the weeks after his January outing, Hooker chalked his decision to leave his gloves in the Octagon down to his frustration and disappointment in his performance, describing the fight as a bad dream.

You’re always frustrated after a loss,” Hooker said. “Yeah, like, a balance of everything. Like, of sheer frustration, you’re disappointed. And then you get back to the hotel. In that moment, I was like, ‘I’m done. I’m finished with this sh*tty sport. I’m done.’ And then you get back to the hotel and you sit down and think about it, and you realize you’re not good at anything else either (laughs). I was kind of thinking, sh*t, I’ve kind of painted myself into a bit of a corner here (laughs).” 

Whilst firm on his decision to continue despite his recent duo of setbacks and frustration, the Auckland native has yet to be booked for his next UFC outing.

The dynamic striker is a sixteen-fight Octagon veteran, notching notable victories over the likes of Ross Pearson, Marc Diakiese, Jim Miller, James Vick, Al Iaquinta, Paul Felder, as well as most recent welterweight title challenger, Gilbert Burns.