Dan Hooker Targets Brian Ortega For UFC Featherweight Return

Dan Hooker
© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Hooker appears serious for a return to featherweight and a potential title run, and he’s laser-focused on a matchup with Brian Ortega.

Hooker is coming off his most recent loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 267, in which he filled in for Rafael dos Anjos on short notice after previously winning at UFC 266 over Nasrat Haqparast.

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Hooker has hinted at a move to featherweight after recent social media posts showed a test weight cut to 145 pounds. Before he rose to contention at lightweight, he was debuted in the featherweight division.

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During a recent interview with The Mac Life, Hooker explained a recent meetup with UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby in which he made his desires clear.

“I ran into Sean Shelby, and that’s the first time I’ve heard from him since the featherweight thing,” Hooker said. “He’s seen it, and he was like, ‘Well, what are you going to do? 55, 45?’ I said yeah, 45. I can make 45 quite comfortably if I get something good. He goes, ‘Who do you want?’ I said ‘Korean Zombie,’ but he’s injured. What about Ortega? He goes, ‘Oh, I’ll have a look. I’ll send you a list.’ I was amped up.”

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Dan Hooker Planned A Move To Featherweight After Losing To Islam Makhachev

Hooker is anticipating a return to the octagon in early 2022, and it could potentially come against Ortega. Hooker has lost three of his last four fights at lightweight after winning seven of his previous eight.

Ortega and Hooker fought on the same card at UFC 266, with Ortega losing an all-time classic against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. Former champion Max Holloway is expected to face Volkanovski in a trilogy next year, which could set up Hooker and Ortega for a potential No. 1 contender bout.

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Who would you like Dan Hooker to face for his return to featherweight?