WATCH: When UFC’s Dan Hooker elbowed his way out of a heel hook

In a remarkable debut on the UFC stage during UFC FN 43 in Auckland, New Zealand, Dan Hooker, Auckland’s rising star, stole the spotlight with a stunning first-round TKO victory over England’s Ian Entwistle. The then 24-year-old featherweight’s emphatic win at Vector Arena marked his entry into the UFC, leaving spectators in awe.

During the bout, Hooker showcased an unconventional defense against an opponent’s heel hook attempt. Opting for elbow strikes instead of the traditional defense, he managed to create a significant impact, albeit with some ambiguity regarding the legality of the strikes. The referee’s scrutiny raised questions, considering the ban on 12-6 elbows in MMA. However, Hooker’s strategic use of angles allowed him to navigate this potential controversy.

In the post-fight interview, seizing the moment, The Hangman rallied the crowd with a passionate shout: “Stand up, New Zealand.” The energized audience celebrated the promising Kiwi’s successful entry into the UFC, adding another layer to his already compelling debut.

Currently, Dan Hooker actively campaigns to be the backup for the rumored McGregor vs Chandler showdown. Speculations suggest that McGregor and Chandler might headline International Fight Week, and Hooker is eager to play a pivotal role in this anticipated event.

Should the speculated event fall through, Hooker expresses enthusiasm for a potential face-off with Beneil Dariush.

Following Beneil Dariush’s contemplation about his future in mixed martial arts after consecutive first-round knockouts, Dan Hooker is ready to extend a challenge. With recent victories over Claudio Puelles and Jalin Turner, Hooker expresses his willingness to face Dariush in the upcoming summer, showcasing his momentum in the competitive scene.

Despite Dariush’s higher ranking and recent setbacks, Hooker confidently emphasizes his readiness for the challenge. “He’s come out and said, yeah, he wants to see if he still got it. Well, I can check, brother. I’ll check for you,” states Hooker, showcasing his determination and confidence.

Despite a recent setback involving a broken arm before his UFC on ESPN 52 matchup against Bobby Green, Hooker is on the path to recovery, back in training, and prepared to face the formidable opponent that Dariush presents.