Daniel Hooker looking to remain an undefeated UFC lightweight against Jim Miller this weekend

This weekend at UFC Atlantic City, New Zealand’s Daniel Hooker attempts to win his third fight in a row, something that has eluded him since he joined the promotion.

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Up until his most recent victory over Marc Diakiese, Hooker had traded wins and losses since making his UFC debut in 2014. The win over Diakiese was Hooker’s second straight win and proved that the lightweight division was where he belonged.

When Hooker signed with the UFC, he signed on as a featherweight despite having fought almost exclusively at lightweight and above throughout his career. At over 6-foot-tall, the cut to featherweight was a particularly tough one.

Hooker had some spectacular wins at the weight class, finishing Ian Entwistle with elbows on the ground, knocking out Hatsu Hioki with a head kick and submitting Mark Eddiva with a guillotine choke. The highlight reel wins were however squeezed amongst decision losses, Hooker struggled to find consistency and the weight cut was singled out as severely affecting his performance. Since moving to lightweight, Hooker has looked like a brand new fighter.

“It’s hard to deny the performances and the shift in the performance from featherweight to lightweight,” Hooker said.

The shift in performance has been telling, with Hooker currently undefeated in the UFC at lightweight. He knocked out a veteran in Ross Pearson and submitted Marc Diakiese, a young fighter that many were calling one of the top prospects in the weight class.

Both fights showcased Hooker’s cerebral approach when it comes to the fight game. He was patient, bided his time and struck at the exact moment the time was right to get the finish. Something that is not always easy to do when you are deep into a fight after an excruciating weight cut.

Hooker will attempt to put another veteran on his record in Atlantic City when he takes on Jim Miller, a fighter he has been watching since the day he first put on MMA gloves.

“Jim miller is a veteran of the sport man, it’s a very exciting fight,” Hooker said.

“It’s another fight like the Ross Pearson fight where I have an immense amount of respect, purely because I have been watching these guys since I started in the sport. Jim Miller’s been at the elite level for such a long time so, to get the opportunity to compete against him, it is a humbling experience.”

Jim Miller is a true veteran in every sense of the word, since joining the UFC in 2008, Miller has competed inside the octagon a staggering 27 times, his fight against Hooker will equal the record for the most times a person has fought in the UFC. Hooker relishes the opportunity to test his skills against such an opponent, but he knows it won’t be easy.

“It’s a tough fight man, Jim Miller is game,” Hooker said.

“He always brings it, he’s got a crazy amount of pace, he has very good takedowns, very good top game, very good jiu- jitsu. I think out strike him and defend the take downs will be the primary goal of this fight.”

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James Averis
James Averis is a Sydney based contributor for Fight News Australia.