Sports

Dan Hooker and his coach are not worried about his wrestling abilities

Dan Hooker became the darling of the MMA world when he agreed to take on Islam Makhachev on short notice at UFC 267. The big talking point after that was the wrestling of the two lightweights, especially Dan Hooker as people think of him as a striker first.

Islam Makhachev put on a wrestling clinic in his last two fights and thoroughly impressed everyone. He’s been known as the ‘new Khabib’ with the former lightweight champion now retired.

Dan Hooker’s wrestling coach, Frank Hickman, did an interview with John Hyon Ko of The AllStar where he discussed the wrestling aspect. He’s not worried about the wrestling and believes Dan Hooker is good enough to deal with whatever comes his way.

“First time I went over there in 2019, we wrestled and I’ve always thought Dan’s been able to wrestle,” Hickman told The AllStar. “He’s always been very hard to take down, hard to control, and he’s sneaky himself. He knows how to wrestle and take guys down himself.

“So when I saw [Dan Hooker’s] wrestling and stuff, I really wasn’t surprised at all. I knew what he’s capable of. I knew Andrei [Paulet, City’s wrestling coach,] and the boys had him tuned up, dialed in. Even though he didn’t train with the team for quite some time. That’s muscle memory you don’t lose over time. I knew if he wanted to go with the takedown game, I knew [Dan Hooker] was gonna beat him with the takedown game. Obviously, he beat [Nasrat] on his feet and he got the takedowns when he needed to.

“As far as Dan Hooker’s wrestling goes, he is right where he needs to because he’s good at it.”

Frank Hickman has shut down the talk of Islam Makhachev’s wrestling being so much better than Dan Hooker’s. The narrative happened because Khabib Nurmagomedov is Makhachev’s mentor and Dan Hooker is known primarily as a striker.

Zhang Weili, Rose Namajunas



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