Dan Hooker doesn't think Arnold Allen has fought anyone like him before

  • Tom Ward
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Dan Hooker is confident that Arnold Allen has never faced anyone like him before.

Hooker, 32, will take on Allen, 28, in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 204 at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night.

Never one to beat about the bush, ‘The Hangman’ spoke highly of his British opponent’s grappling and takedown defence, but expressed some doubts over Allen’s ability against an elite-level striker such as himself.

The New Zealand MMA fighter trains at Israel Adesanya‘s City Kickboxing gym by Kiwi MMA pioneer Eugene Bareman in the capital city of Auckland.

During the UFC pre-fight media day, he said: “I feel like that’s a difficult question because the guys he’s fought like mainly he’s fought short, stocky wrestlers who are trying to take him down and that’s definitely not me.

“So it’s hard to kind of compare any one opponent that he’s fought, like he might be able to deal with a tall, rangy guy before, but we’re just going to have to wait and see.

“But no, he’s definitely well-rounded, he deserves the eight fight win streak, he deserves the ranking and the position that he has found himself in the UFC, and the momentum that he’s on, it’s definitely warranted.”

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 22: In this handout image provided by the UFC, Dan Hooker of New Zealand poses on the scale during the UFC 257 weigh-in at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 22, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Hooker believes his experience will aid him in the path to victory.

He added: “That’s the benefit of experience is that regardless of what happens I’m absolutely ready for it.

“Whether it’s a knockdown, drag it out for 15 minutes, I’ve been in a few of those, I can handle that.

“Whether I slip on a banana peel and I’ve got to go through some adversity, I can deal with that, I’ve been there before, that’s easy.

“Whether I go out there as I’m expecting and just purely outclass him I’m prepared for that as well.”

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Hooker is in the midst of perhaps the worst stretch of his professional career having lost two of his last three fights but claims he knows how to handle the pressure despite his inconsistent run of form.

He continued: “Pressure is like a tap and that can only come with experience.

“If I’m under too much pressure, I have the ability to control that, and turn it down and process some things and manage that pressure.

“But on the same hand if I’m not feeling enough pressure I also know the process to turn that pressure up a little bit because you need that pressure.

“When you have that pressure, you get the nerves and it brings out the best of you, that’s when you do the best performances.”

Eternal MMA 64 takes place early Saturday morning. The prelims will be streamed live on GiveMeSport’s official Facebook page, while the main card will be broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass.

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