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Dan Hooker feels that Islam Makhachev will retire to avoid Arman Tsarukyan

LockerRoom Team
02 January 2024

Dan Hooker, a prominent figure in the UFC lightweight division, has voiced his opinion on the current titleholder, Islam Makhachev, suggesting there might be one contender the champion is not eager to face.

The recent UFC Austin main event saw Arman Tsarukyan secure an impressive victory over Beneil Dariush, marking his third consecutive win and propelling him closer to a shot at the lightweight title. As Makhachev awaits his next challenger, with names like Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira in the mix, Hooker believes Tsarukyan could be a legitimate threat.

While Tsarukyan might need one more win to earn a title shot against Makhachev, Hooker remains skeptical about the likelihood of this rematch. Speaking on The MMA Hour, Hooker expressed his doubts, stating, "He's not going to fight him. I guarantee he'll retire by the time Arman gets there, for sure. It's too risky, there's too much risk. There are easier fights out there that he'd rather take. No one's going to buy an Arman Tsarukyan pay-per-view. You'd rather watch Islam fight [Conor] McGregor or [Justin] Gaethje."

Despite Hooker's acknowledgment of Tsarukyan's fighting prowess, he criticized the fighter's behavior during fight week in UFC Austin. Notably, videos surfaced of a physical altercation between Tsarukyan and Bobby Green at the fighter hotel. While Hooker commended Tsarukyan's in-cage performance, he expressed disapproval of his off-stage antics, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a professional approach in the fight business.

Hooker's dislike for Tsarukyan dates back to previous exchanges of insults, and the New Zealand fighter envisions a potential matchup against Tsarukyan when he returns from a recent arm surgery. Hooker, while acknowledging Tsarukyan's talent, described him as "annoying" and expressed his reluctance to welcome him back to the octagon. As the lightweight division continues to unfold, the possibility of these two fighters crossing paths adds an intriguing layer to the evolving narrative in the UFC.

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