'The Hangman' hooks UFC match

By Ruth Smith, Tamati Tiananga

UFC fighter, Dan 'The Hangman' Hooker has been called-up to one of the biggest UFC cards of the year in a match against Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter, Gilbert Burns to be held in Las Vegas. 

The 28-year-old's career has been looking up after a stunning first round KO against veteran rival, Jim Miller, earlier this year and he believes that that win has put him in a position to make a name for himself.

Dan 'The Hangman' Hooker is amped and ready to go.

"I've been on social media asking for a fight.  I called out one of the ranked guys in the ring, so the UFC knew I was looking for a fight and looking to get straight back in there.  They just sent me through a name a couple of days ago.  I said 'yes, as soon as possible'," says Hooker.

The kickboxer is about to fight one of the top Jiu-Jitsu fighters in the UFC.

"I'm fighting Gilbert Burns on the UFC pay-per-view card.  So it'll be the heavy-weight title fight- Stipe Miocic fighting Daniel Cormier.  So I'll be either on the undercard or on the main card there," he says.

Hooker's opponent might be a world-champion grappler, but the former AFC Champion is not fazed by the title.

"He's a Jiu-Jitsu multiple time world champion.  He's very good on the ground - big, strong, knocks people out - so, I'm excited.  The tougher the opponent, the more focused and ready I am with training," he explains.

Hooker is confident about his chances and has wasted no time getting back to training and strategising for the big fight.

"This opponent, he brings a lot of action, he throws heavy shots and he's looking to take guys out as well.  And me, I'm like, I'm patient.  I'm quite happy and very comfortable with a cage".

The showdown between Hooker and Burns will take place on July 7th at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.