Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker verbally agreed to for UFC 257

Michael Chandler, Conor McGregor

An exciting lightweight bout between Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker is the latest addition to January’s UFC 257 pay-per-view.

Stuff.co.nz confirmed on Tuesday that Chandler vs. Hooker has been verbally agreed to for UFC 257 by both parties and both men have begun their training camps already, according to reporter Jackson Thomas. The UFC is expected to make this fight official in the next couple of days, according to the report. Chandler vs. Hooker will likely be the co-main event behind the UFC 257 between lightweight contender Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Hooker previously called Chandler out, and now he will get his wish of fighting him.

UFC president Dana White recently teased that a big fight would be added to UFC 257, and many assumed that he was hinting at Chandler’s debut. The former Bellator lightweight champion signed a free-agent deal with the UFC a few months ago but he has yet to make his debut for the world’s leading MMA promotion yet. Chandler was the UFC 254 main event backup fighter so this fight with Hooker will be his official UFC debut. This matchup also serves as insurance for the UFC in case anything happens to McGregor or Poirier.

Chandler (21-5) is the former three-time Bellator lightweight champion. The 34-year-old American has fought and defeated a number of notable opponents over the years including Eddie Alvarez, Benson Henderson, and Patricky Pitbull. Chandler is not currently ranked in the top-15 of the UFC lightweight division but anyone who has followed his career knows that he is one of the best 155lbers in the world who has the potential to be a UFC champ.

Hooker (20-9) is the No. 6 ranked lightweight in the UFC. The 30-year-old native of New Zealand has been in the UFC since 2014, going 10-5 overall inside the Octagon while competing at both 145lbs and 155lbs. Since 2017, Hooker has fought full-time at lightweight and has racked up an 8-2 record during that stretch with wins over the likes of Gilbert Burns, Paul Felder, and Al Iaquinta. In his last fight, Hooker lost a decision to Dustin Poirier in an absolute war that was one of the best fights of 2020.

UFC 257 takes place on January 23 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The main event sees McGregor and Poirier go five rounds or less with a potential lightweight title shot on the line.

Who do you think wins at UFC 257, Michael Chandler or Dan Hooker?

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