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Dan Hooker taking on former world champion in co-main event at UFC's Fight Island

Dan Hooker will be hoping to give a former world champion a brutal welcome to the UFC with the Kiwi mixed martial arts fighter confirmed to fight in the co-main event at UFC 257 later this month.

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Hooker will take on former Bellator champ Michael Chandler at UFC 257. Source: 1 Sport

Hooker will take on former Bellator world champion Michael Chandler on January 24 at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

The event is headlined by the return of Irish superstar Conor McGregor who is taking on Dustin Poirier – Hooker’s last opponent who he lost to by unanimous decision.

Hooker has been given the challenge of welcoming Chandler to the UFC after the 34-year-old American switched from Bellator, a promotion rival of the UFC, last year. He has a record of 21-5.

The fight will likely help the UFC to figure out who should be given a shot at the now-vacant lightweight title after former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov retired last year.

Besides the four lightweights clashing in Abu Dhabi, Justin Gaethje – who lost to Nurmagomedov before the Russian’s retirement – and in-form Brazilian Charles Oliveira.

Hooker will be the first Kiwi fighter out of renowned New Zealand gym City Kickboxing to fight this year with teammate Israel Adesanya confirmed to take on light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz on March 7 in his attempt to become a two-weight champion.

Fellow CKB fighters Brad Riddell, Kai Kara-France and Carlos Ulberg are all believed to be eyeing fights early in 2021 as well.