UFC 267: Dan Hooker on not having full training camp for Islam Makhachev fight

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During UFC 267 media day on Wednesday, Dan Hooker was asked about the short-notice training camp for his upcoming fight against Islam Makhachev.

The fight against Makhachev was offered to Hooker a little over four-weeks out, after Rafael Dos Anjos was forced to pull out due to what was later revealed to be a torn meniscus.

Hooker, coming off a victory at UFC 266 days before, accepted the fight against what some are calling the future lightweight champion.

Here’s what he had to say about the training camp and the different circumstances leading up to it.

“I’ve grown to adjust to it,” Hooker told media. “That’s one of the major lessons that I took from the losses. Coming through those losses, if I would have sat back and thought ‘oh man if everything was perfect I would have won those fights’ I feel like, that’s the wrong way to look at it.”

“Instead of changing the circumstances leading up to the fight, I just changed my attitude towards it.”

“Whereas initially after that I was like, ‘man the next one I want a full camp. I want this. I want my coaches. I want everything to be perfect.’ Then I came to the realization that I need to give up on that because these are pandemic times. We need to keep the ball rolling. I want to get out there and compete. I need to change my attitude. So that’s what I did. I went away and I changed my attitude.”

Despite his recent success, New Zealand’s Hooker hasn’t had it easy when it comes to training camps for his last two fights.

In the lead up to his last fight, Hooker had trouble putting together a training camp due to strict COVID-19 regulations that shut down all MMA gyms in New Zealand and banned large gatherings.

For this fight, Hooker remained in the U.S., away from his team and family, and got all of his training done in Las Vegas.

Despite all of this, Hooker says he is maintaining a champions mindset heading into Saturday.

“Championship mentality. A champion can adjust whether it’s in a fight, (or) whether it’s in training. So that’s what I did. No matter what these challenges are, I have a championship mentality, and I adjust to it. And I’ve evolved past that and I’ve made it work. I did that with the last fight, and I did it with this fight. Where I have absolutely no excuse. Regardless of the circumstances, I am one hundred percent confident in my preparation for this fight, and I am excited to go out there and put on a show.”

Source: UFC

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