Dan Hooker calls Paulo Costa weight class gamesmanship ‘a massive F you’ to everyone

Dan Hooker | Esther Lin, MMA FightingHaving made weight for his most recent fight under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, Dan Hooker doesn’t have much sympathy for Paulo Costa’s recent weight crisis. Ahead his main event clash with Marvin Vettori this past Saturday at UFC Vegas 41, Costa revealed that he would not be able to make the scheduled middleweight limit and eventually the fighters negotiated to make the fight a light heavyweight contest instead. That perceived gamesmanship didn’t sit well with a lot of the MMA community, particularly Hooker who successfully made weight for a a recent win over Nasrat Haqparast in Las Vegas last month after visa issues made it unclear if either fighter would even be allowed in the country until days before the event. “What Costa did, he didn’t earn the right to do that,” Hooker said on Submission Radio (transcription via Denis Shkuratov). “It was a funny situation because it was only what, a couple of weeks ago that we let Nick Diaz roll up and do it. But Paulo Costa hadn’t done for the sport what Nick Diaz had done, but obviously same result, he got the weight class changed entirely. So I don’t know, it’s kind of funny, like a bit of a power play. But it’s not for me, it’s not like the Anzac culture of the sport. “That would never happen, something like that in New Zealand or Australia. I feel like if you just showed up to a local kickboxing show with your fighter 10 kilos (approx. 22 pounds) overweight and you were like, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I feel like you’d get beaten up in the car park. It’s just a sign of respect. That’s all it is. It’s a matter of respect. I show up on weight as a respect for my opponent, as a respect for my gym, as a respect for representing who I represent. It’s a sign of respect to the fans, it’s a sign of respect to the promotion. It’s absolutely everything. So it absolutely is what it is. Him coming out like that is just a massive ‘F you’ to the fans, ‘F you’ to the UFC, ‘F you’ to his opponent.” Costa would go on to lose a unanimous decision after a five-round thriller with Vettori. After Saturday’s event, UFC President Dana White told the media that Costa would be moving up to light heavyweight permanently in the future, a suggestion that Costa disagreed with. While it remains to be seen what impact Costa’s decision-making has on his standing with the promotion and the fans, Hooker—currently No. 9 in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings—is likely in a stronger position at the moment after not only taking care of business with Haqparast, but stepping up to face one of the lightweight division’s boogymen, Islam Makhachev. Makhachev was scheduled to fight former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 267 this Saturday, but when dos Anjos was forced to withdraw due to an injury, Hooker volunteered to replace him and has gone as far as to propose that their main card bout be changed to a five-round contest. “I don’t know, I’m just doing me,” Hooker said when asked if he believes fans view him as one of the ‘BMFs’ of the UFC. “I’m not trying to put on a show, I’m not trying—People would be able to see right through it. Islam could come out and call the bluff and say, ‘Look guy, he approached the UFC with five rounds and he turned it down.’ They know that that’s not gonna happen. They know that that’s not me. It’s just who I am. It’s just the way that I approach the sport. It’s the way that I’ve always approached the sport. It’s not difficult at all. “We’ll see what happens after this as well. Go out there and get the job done. There are two massive lightweight fights before the end of the year. Knock on wood, you don’t want something to go wrong, but I’ll put my hand up. That’s all me. I’ll get back in there. As long as I can be medically cleared by a state commission to fight, I will fight.”

Dan Hooker calls Paulo Costa weight class gamesmanship ‘a massive F you’ to everyone
Dan Hooker | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Having made weight for his most recent fight under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, Dan Hooker doesn’t have much sympathy for Paulo Costa’s recent weight crisis.

Ahead his main event clash with Marvin Vettori this past Saturday at UFC Vegas 41, Costa revealed that he would not be able to make the scheduled middleweight limit and eventually the fighters negotiated to make the fight a light heavyweight contest instead. That perceived gamesmanship didn’t sit well with a lot of the MMA community, particularly Hooker who successfully made weight for a a recent win over Nasrat Haqparast in Las Vegas last month after visa issues made it unclear if either fighter would even be allowed in the country until days before the event.

“What Costa did, he didn’t earn the right to do that,” Hooker said on Submission Radio (transcription via Denis Shkuratov). “It was a funny situation because it was only what, a couple of weeks ago that we let Nick Diaz roll up and do it. But Paulo Costa hadn’t done for the sport what Nick Diaz had done, but obviously same result, he got the weight class changed entirely. So I don’t know, it’s kind of funny, like a bit of a power play. But it’s not for me, it’s not like the Anzac culture of the sport.

“That would never happen, something like that in New Zealand or Australia. I feel like if you just showed up to a local kickboxing show with your fighter 10 kilos (approx. 22 pounds) overweight and you were like, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I feel like you’d get beaten up in the car park. It’s just a sign of respect. That’s all it is. It’s a matter of respect. I show up on weight as a respect for my opponent, as a respect for my gym, as a respect for representing who I represent. It’s a sign of respect to the fans, it’s a sign of respect to the promotion. It’s absolutely everything. So it absolutely is what it is. Him coming out like that is just a massive ‘F you’ to the fans, ‘F you’ to the UFC, ‘F you’ to his opponent.”

Costa would go on to lose a unanimous decision after a five-round thriller with Vettori. After Saturday’s event, UFC President Dana White told the media that Costa would be moving up to light heavyweight permanently in the future, a suggestion that Costa disagreed with.

While it remains to be seen what impact Costa’s decision-making has on his standing with the promotion and the fans, Hooker—currently No. 9 in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings—is likely in a stronger position at the moment after not only taking care of business with Haqparast, but stepping up to face one of the lightweight division’s boogymen, Islam Makhachev.

Makhachev was scheduled to fight former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 267 this Saturday, but when dos Anjos was forced to withdraw due to an injury, Hooker volunteered to replace him and has gone as far as to propose that their main card bout be changed to a five-round contest.

“I don’t know, I’m just doing me,” Hooker said when asked if he believes fans view him as one of the ‘BMFs’ of the UFC. “I’m not trying to put on a show, I’m not trying—People would be able to see right through it. Islam could come out and call the bluff and say, ‘Look guy, he approached the UFC with five rounds and he turned it down.’ They know that that’s not gonna happen. They know that that’s not me. It’s just who I am. It’s just the way that I approach the sport. It’s the way that I’ve always approached the sport. It’s not difficult at all.

“We’ll see what happens after this as well. Go out there and get the job done. There are two massive lightweight fights before the end of the year. Knock on wood, you don’t want something to go wrong, but I’ll put my hand up. That’s all me. I’ll get back in there. As long as I can be medically cleared by a state commission to fight, I will fight.”

Source : MMA Fighting More   

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Petr Yan: After I win at UFC 267, everyone ‘will know who here is really champ’

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLCPetr Yan is out to make a statement against Cory Sandhagen. The former UFC bantamweight champion returns Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 267 to fight for the first time since dropping his belt in controversial fashion to Aljamain Sterling in March. With Sterling still sidelined due to injury for the foreseeable future, an interim bantamweight title will be up for grabs in Abu Dhabi. And Yan knows well enough that the unusual circumstances around the current 135-pound title picture give his showdown with Sandhagen quite a bit more significance than the UFC’s normal interim title bouts. “I beat [Sandhagen] on Saturday, every guy will know who here is really champ,” Yan said in English without the help of a translator on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. The 135-pound division has been stuck in neutral since Yan collided with Sterling at UFC 259. Back in March, Yan was ahead on the scorecards and had seized momentum late in the fourth round when he unloaded an illegal knee to Sterling’s head while the American was a grounded fighter. The incident lead to a DQ win for Sterling and caused Yan to become the only athlete in UFC history to lose a title by disqualification. Sterling underwent neck surgery following the incident and remains medically unfit to compete. He was supposed to rematch Yan at UFC 267 but ended up withdrawing last month due to lingering issues and ultimately was replaced on short notice by Sandhagen. The situation between Sterling and Yan has been litigated and relitigated hundreds of times since March, and Yan insisted that he won’t do it again this week with a tough challenge like Sandhagen sitting in front of him. But Yan also made it clear that he puts the blame on Sterling as to why the UFC bantamweight division finds itself in the mess it’s in now. “It’s just his decision to make this surgery right now,” Yan said through a translator. “I don’t know why he hadn’t done it earlier or maybe later in his career, but now the whole division is in a mess. When people have neck pain, I don’t see them sparring without any headgear. It’s just ridiculous.” Despite his convoluted history with Sterling, Yan said he will “1,000 percent” consider himself to be the true UFC bantamweight champion with a win on Saturday. But he’s also not there just yet. “I don’t want to consider myself as a champion,” Yan said. “I don’t have a belt. Right now I’m the No. 1-ranked bantamweight in the division and I’m ready to prove that I’m the best in the division. “The only thing I lost [after UFC 259] was maybe money, but everything else is still with me — desire to win the belt, desire to move forward to winning, and I’m still hungry. So everything else is the same.” Altogether, Yan was in good spirits Monday night in Abu Dhabi. He indicated that he’s content with where things ended up despite his long road since March’s loss. He felt that the judges were correct to award T.J. Dillashaw a win over Sandhagen in July’s controversial split decision between the two bantamweights, but he knows that Sandhagen was still the best option available for UFC 267 considering Dillashaw’s own injury woes. Yan also scoffed at the public attempts of bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley to secure the interim title fight before the UFC settled on Sandhagen. “Right now he knows it’s impossible for him to get this fight, so everything he says now is just for attention. It’s just to be in media,” Yan said of O’Malley. “But the only reason why he’s in the media is only the color of his hair. “It’s the main reason he gets attention, his crazy hair and his crazy talk. He’s not even in the top 15.” As for Sandhagen, the American has won seven of his nine UFC appearances and remains one of the most well-rounded contenders at 135 pounds. The 29-year-old has been hailed by many observers as a future champion of the division. But even if Saturday’s matchup looks daunting, Yan hasn’t found much to be concerned about when he sees his foe. “He’s a very good and versatile fighter. He’s good everywhere. But in every aspect that he’s good at, I am better than him,” Yan said. “So in wrestling or striking, I’m ready to surprise him. “My style is to always go in there and look for the finish, and I don’t think he’s the one who drag me into the deep waters. I’m the one who’s going to drag him into the deep waters. And five rounds is my distance.”

Petr Yan: After I win at UFC 267, everyone ‘will know who here is really champ’
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Petr Yan is out to make a statement against Cory Sandhagen.

The former UFC bantamweight champion returns Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 267 to fight for the first time since dropping his belt in controversial fashion to Aljamain Sterling in March. With Sterling still sidelined due to injury for the foreseeable future, an interim bantamweight title will be up for grabs in Abu Dhabi. And Yan knows well enough that the unusual circumstances around the current 135-pound title picture give his showdown with Sandhagen quite a bit more significance than the UFC’s normal interim title bouts.

“I beat [Sandhagen] on Saturday, every guy will know who here is really champ,” Yan said in English without the help of a translator on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour.

The 135-pound division has been stuck in neutral since Yan collided with Sterling at UFC 259. Back in March, Yan was ahead on the scorecards and had seized momentum late in the fourth round when he unloaded an illegal knee to Sterling’s head while the American was a grounded fighter. The incident lead to a DQ win for Sterling and caused Yan to become the only athlete in UFC history to lose a title by disqualification.

Sterling underwent neck surgery following the incident and remains medically unfit to compete. He was supposed to rematch Yan at UFC 267 but ended up withdrawing last month due to lingering issues and ultimately was replaced on short notice by Sandhagen.

The situation between Sterling and Yan has been litigated and relitigated hundreds of times since March, and Yan insisted that he won’t do it again this week with a tough challenge like Sandhagen sitting in front of him. But Yan also made it clear that he puts the blame on Sterling as to why the UFC bantamweight division finds itself in the mess it’s in now.

“It’s just his decision to make this surgery right now,” Yan said through a translator. “I don’t know why he hadn’t done it earlier or maybe later in his career, but now the whole division is in a mess. When people have neck pain, I don’t see them sparring without any headgear. It’s just ridiculous.”

Despite his convoluted history with Sterling, Yan said he will “1,000 percent” consider himself to be the true UFC bantamweight champion with a win on Saturday.

But he’s also not there just yet.

“I don’t want to consider myself as a champion,” Yan said. “I don’t have a belt. Right now I’m the No. 1-ranked bantamweight in the division and I’m ready to prove that I’m the best in the division.

“The only thing I lost [after UFC 259] was maybe money, but everything else is still with me — desire to win the belt, desire to move forward to winning, and I’m still hungry. So everything else is the same.”

Altogether, Yan was in good spirits Monday night in Abu Dhabi. He indicated that he’s content with where things ended up despite his long road since March’s loss. He felt that the judges were correct to award T.J. Dillashaw a win over Sandhagen in July’s controversial split decision between the two bantamweights, but he knows that Sandhagen was still the best option available for UFC 267 considering Dillashaw’s own injury woes.

Yan also scoffed at the public attempts of bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley to secure the interim title fight before the UFC settled on Sandhagen.

“Right now he knows it’s impossible for him to get this fight, so everything he says now is just for attention. It’s just to be in media,” Yan said of O’Malley. “But the only reason why he’s in the media is only the color of his hair.

“It’s the main reason he gets attention, his crazy hair and his crazy talk. He’s not even in the top 15.”

As for Sandhagen, the American has won seven of his nine UFC appearances and remains one of the most well-rounded contenders at 135 pounds. The 29-year-old has been hailed by many observers as a future champion of the division. But even if Saturday’s matchup looks daunting, Yan hasn’t found much to be concerned about when he sees his foe.

“He’s a very good and versatile fighter. He’s good everywhere. But in every aspect that he’s good at, I am better than him,” Yan said. “So in wrestling or striking, I’m ready to surprise him.

“My style is to always go in there and look for the finish, and I don’t think he’s the one who drag me into the deep waters. I’m the one who’s going to drag him into the deep waters. And five rounds is my distance.”

Source : MMA Fighting More   

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