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HomeSportsMMADan Hooker confirms original UFC 300 plans: Israel Adesanya ‘was stepping up...

Dan Hooker confirms original UFC 300 plans: Israel Adesanya ‘was stepping up to fight’


Dan Hooker has confirmed reports that Israel Adesanya was good to go for UFC 300, and it was middleweight champion Dricus Du Plessis that turned down the headliner slot on the historic April 13th card.

“The Hangman” trains with Adesanya at City Kickboxing in New Zealand and shared what he knew with Sky Sports about the situation. He pumped up the eventual UFC 300 main event, Alex Pereira vs. Jamahal Hill, but made it clear that wasn’t the UFC’s top choice.

“It’s a good fight they scratched together,” Hooker said with a laugh. “I want to know, I want Dana to come out and say that what had all gone on behind the scenes. Because as far as I knew, Israel was stepping up to fight in that 300 slot.”

“He’s continued to stay in the gym and stay healthy and stay training very hard, so I would anticipate him getting another fight booked pretty soon,” Hooker added.

As for “DDP” refusing the fight?

“I feel like Dricus, that was going to be a big ask after the five rounds he had with Strickland, he took a lot of damage in that Strickland fight. And yeah, he turned the title fight down before. He was supposed to fight Israel in Sydney when [Izzy] fought Strickland. But he had, like, a niggle, he had an injury, and he wasn’t prepared to take that risk.”

Hooker added that he wasn’t criticizing Du Plessis, who would have had to return just three months after his UFC 297 fight with Sean Strickland.

“I was not surprised at all that he wasn’t prepared to rush back and take that risk for UFC 300,” he said. “Can I criticize him for it? I can’t really, cuz it worked out in his favor the last time. He’s now the one walking around with the title. So can I criticize? ‘You should want to fight at UFC 300 with half a training camp!’ I can’t, I can’t criticize him.”

The good news is it sounds like Israel Adesanya is ready to return, and it’s just a matter of giving Dricus Du Plessis a reasonable turnaround time to book that fight. As for Dan Hooker, he shared a target date for his own return: UFC 303 on June 29th.



This story originally appeared on MMA Mania

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