UFC News: Latest on Dustin Poirier, Dan Hooker, Jose Aldo's UFC 251 Weight Cut

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2020

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 27: Dustin Poirier celebrates after his victory over Dan Hooker of New Zealand in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 27, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Chris Unger/Getty Images

Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker just put on a Fight of the Year contender, but now the question shifts to what's next for both lightweights. 

Saturday's five-round affair featured a bit of everything. Five takedowns between the two of them, 308 combined significant strikes landed and four submission attempts from Poirier in a barn burner that saw The Diamond get the nod in a decision.

Ultimately, Poirier's win could set him up with a title shot while Hooker remains a relevant force in the division. The brawl between the two should draw more eyes to their next fights, and both have offered a little insight into their next opponents and when those fights may take place. 

Elsewhere in the news, Jose Aldo opened up about his weight cut down to 135 pounds for his upcoming title fight with Petr Yan at UFC 251 on July 11.

After spending the vast majority of his career at featherweight, the Brazilian is making his second appearance at bantamweight and hoping to pick up his first win in the new division. 

                   

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Poirier Reflects on Tough Fight; Updates Injury Status

In the course of absorbing over 150 significant strikes, there are bound to be some injuries.

Fortunately for Poirier, it turns out his injuries aren't as bad as they may have seemed on first blush. According to Ariel Helwani of ESPN, the MRI on his shin came back negative for any fractures and he just has bruising and swelling. 

While that's good news for The Diamond because it likely allows him some flexibility in his calendar moving forward, the kind of fight he was in with Hooker isn't something he wants to continue doing.

The 31-year-old also talked to Helwani about concerns over fighting like that too often as he looks to his future: 

It's rare for fighters to be so open about their long-term concerns, and seeing it from the likes of Poirier is refreshing. He has absorbed more than 100 significant strikes in bouts against Justin Gaethje (115) and Max Holloway (181) in addition to the bout with Hooker. 

At this point, it still sounds like he is down to fight opponents who are likely to put on similar bouts with him. 

"I'm interested in all those fights," Poirier told MMA Junkie Radio when asked about potential fights with Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz, both of whom would likely put on a high-volume slugfest with the contender. "I'd like to fight all those guys. It just has to be the right time and the right scenario, and we'll make it happen. But my goal before I'm done fighting is to be the undisputed world champion."

So for now, we are still likely going to see Poirier slugging his way to a championship, but it's interesting that he's already alluding to hanging it up before he suffers too much damage during his career. 

               

Hooker Eager to Get Back in Gym; Open to Fighting Tony Ferguson

Hooker may have suffered a loss Saturday, but he isn't looking to waste time licking his wounds. He's anxious to get back in the gym and return to his mission of climbing up the lightweight rankings. 

"By the time I get out of this quarantine, I'll be ready to get back in the gym and start mixing it up on the mats," he said, per Damon Martin of MMA Fighting. 

Not only did Hooker lay out a timeline in which he says he wants to fight again sometime in October or November, but he also has some ideas for matchmaking in the lightweight division.

The 30-year-old believes Poirier will wait for the results of the fight between Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov that should take place in the fall before making his next move. 

That leaves one more big-name contender in the lightweight division: Tony Ferguson. 

"I'll wait until I get back in the gym to message the UFC but I put it out there that I would definitely be interested in that Tony fight and the fans are just jumping on that," Hooker said. "They're responding really well. I know how the UFC works."

Ferguson is coming off a difficult loss to Gaethje that saw his seven-year, 12-fight win streak brought to an end. With Hooker coming off a loss in which he proved he can put on exciting fights, he would make a great opponent for the 36-year-old.

It's a fight that makes sense, with both men attempting to recover lost momentum. 

         

Aldo Says Bantamweight Cut is 'A Lot Easier' than Featherweight

It isn't often that a 33-year-old fighter makes a switch to a lighter weight division. In general, the older one gets the more difficult it is to cut weight. 

Aldo has already proved he can make the weight. He may have lost his bantamweight debut against Marlon Moraes but he did make the cut successfully. His pre-fight routine has now been thrown off by COVID-19 restrictions, but he still feels good about the weight. 

"These two days here in Sao Paulo are definitely gonna get in the way of my weight cut a little bit," Aldo said in an interview with ESPN (h/t Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie). "But I bought a rope to jump, and I'm gonna go in the jacuzzi in the room or whatever. I'm gonna be able to stay active, but I'm happy to be a part of this, and the cut for 135 has actually been a lot easier than it was at 145."

Aldo attributed the easier cut to the fact that he has kept his weight down throughout camp. An altered approach to nutrition has him feeling reenergized as he attempts to capture another title in his new weight class. 

Doing so will be a challenge. The latest odds from Caesars Palace have him pegged as a 19-10 underdog against rising star Petr Yan in their UFC 251 fight. 

The Brazilian will need a throwback performance to his days as the world's best featherweight to pull off the upset. That's going to be a tall task, but at least he is expecting to have a good weight cut and be as ready as possible for what could be the last title shot of his career. 

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