Daniel Cormier: Michael Chandler-Dan Hooker winner should call out Conor McGregor at UFC 257

UFC lightweights Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker will square off in prime position as the UFC 257 co-main event ahead of Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, which headlines the first pay-per-view of the year. The way Daniel Cormier sees it, the winner of Chandler vs. Hooker would be wise to take a page out of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s book.

On the night McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez claim the 155-pound title and become the promotion’s first simultaneous two-division champion at UFC 205, Nurmagomedov fought on the undercard – the prelims, to be exact. He smashed and taunted Michael Johnson in typical Khabib fashion before he submitted him in the third round. Afterward came an aggressive and memorable callout of McGregor, which boosted Nurmagomedov’s career trajectory.

“Khabib’s on the prelims: ‘I want to fight with your chicken.’ All of a sudden they start to mention Khabib and Conor in the same breath,” Cormier said Monday during “DC & Helwani” on ESPN’s YouTube channel. “Khabib isn’t the champ yet; he’s a young guy on his way up, and then it just builds.”

Less than two years later, Nurmagomedov got his fight with McGregor at UFC 229 and made him tap out to a neck crank.

Fast forward to Jan. 23, and Cormier sees the Chandler-Hooker winner being in an ideal situation to make noise right before McGregor and Poirier make the walk for their highly anticipated rematch.

“For Chandler to be in the co-main event, it puts him in a perfect spot. And Dan Hooker, too,” Cormier said. “If I’m Dan Hooker and I win, I’m immediately saying something about McGregor. Whoever wins at 155 pounds on that fight card, you say something about McGregor. Because guess what? McGregor doesn’t have the ability to not respond. He will say something back. He’ll say something and elevate you. There’s a level of stardom that comes with fighting on (the same card as) and with this dude that I’ve never seen.”

Chandler (21-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC), the former two-time Bellator lightweight champion, will be making his long-awaited UFC debut, while Hooker (20-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC) is looking to rebound from losing a “Fight of the Year” candidate to Poirier last June, which snapped a three-fight winning streak.

If Cormier is right in his assessment, perhaps both men will be rooting for McGregor to win at UFC 257.

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