Dan Hooker opens up on Chandler loss, reveals why he removed gloves in the cage

Dan Hooker

UFC lightweight contender Dan Hooker has opened up on his loss to Michael Chandler, and revealed why he removed his gloves in the Octagon post-fight.

Hooker met Chandler in the co-main event of UFC 257 last month. The bout was Chandler’s first in the UFC after a prolonged stint in Bellator, and Hooker was viewed as a tough welcome committee.

Despite those expectations, Chandler made quick work of Hooker, putting the Kiwi down with punches in the bout’s opening round.

In the moments immediately following that loss, Hooker removed his gloves in the cage, which is generally a sign that a fighter intends to announce their retirement. Since then, however, he’s been absent from the public eye, and shed no light on where his head is at after the loss.

That’s finally changed, as Hooker recently partook in a fantastic interview with Submission Radio, opening up on the loss to Chandler and explaining why he took of his gloves in the Octagon.

He began by clearing the air on his fighting future. He says that he removed his gloves out of frustration, but after giving his situation some thought, realized that it’s not time for retirement.

“You’re always frustrated after a loss,” a chipper Hooker began. “In that moment [in the cage], 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.'”

Hooker then opened up on the loss to Chandler itself, and what went wrong in the Octagon.

“You have good days, bad days,” Hooker said. “You prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario, but even that took the cake. Even that surprised me how bad it went. That was the very surprising thing. So, what can you say? What can you say? I have no words to describe that. You come to, and then you’re just like, ‘wow, I’ve just wasted four months [of training], four months of my life for that.’

“I zigged when I should have zagged, that’s all it is,” Hooker added. “Fighting is like a mixture of thinking and your reactions. You’re balancing your processed thought and then your reactions. I felt like I was calm, could see everything, was thinking, was sharp in there, just relied on my reaction to get out of the way of that punch, and it let me down. It’s hard to describe. It’s like such an obvious error and such a very costly mistake.

“He changed levels,” Hooker concluded. “I think I relied on my reaction time. He sold the level change well. I thought he was going for a takedown, comes upstairs with a punch. There’s a million things I could’ve done that would’ve changed that. There’s a million different reactions that I could’ve done and that not happen. But it did. What can you do? I certainly don’t have a time machine.”

What do you think the future holds for Dan Hooker after UFC 257?

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