Michael Chandler’s octagon debut set, meets Dan Hooker at UFC 257


Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler has booked his octagon debut as he is expected to face Dan Hooker at UFC 257 on Jan. 23 in Abu Dhabi.

Multiple sources close to the situation confirmed to MMA Fighting that verbal agreements are in place for the bout after a report from ESPN. UFC President Dana White first mentioned the matchup during a recent interview with The Schmo.

Chandler has been in training camp for a couple of weeks already as he anticipated his first fight in the UFC taking place in January. Originally there were rumors that he would face off against former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje and then the UFC attempted to book Chandler against Charles Oliveira.

Unfortunately, White confirmed that Oliveira was concerned about making weight on short notice, so that potential matchup was scrapped in favor of Chandler vs. Hooker.

As he makes his UFC debut, Chandler will look to make an immediate impact in the lightweight division after serving as a multi-time champion in Bellator. He most recently knocked out Benson Henderson in his final Bellator fight before signing with the UFC.

As for Hooker, he’s gone 3-1 in his past four appearances including wins over Paul Felder and Al Iaquinta. His only loss stems from a meeting with Dustin Poirier in a “Fight of the Night “back in June.

Now, Hooker will attempt to give Chandler a rude welcome to the UFC when they meet in January. The fight will likely serve as backup to the main event, where Conor McGregor makes his long awaited return against Poirier in a five-round lightweight clash.

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