NZ lightweight MMA fighter Dan Hooker juggling two jobs, teaching MMA and competing in UFC

New Zealand mixed martial artist fighter Dan Hooker is juggling two jobs, training fighters in his new gym in Auckland all the while fighting the world's best UFC lightweight fighters inside the octagon.

Hooker has opened up his own gym, Combat Academy in Ellerslie.

"I feel like I'm in the game, ahead of the game and I can pass that on to my students," said Hooker.

The 28-year-old fights out of City Kickboxing gym in Auckland and is teammates with UFC middleweight Israel Adesanya and newly signed UFC flyweight contender Kai Kara-France.

"There (Combat Academy) I am the head coach, here (City Kickboxing) I am just another body on the mat.

"I am a student, I am always learning, always grinding."

He is currently on a four fight win streak in the UFC, defeating his last opponent Gilbert Burns in sensational fashion by knockout in the first round last month at UFC 226 in Las Vegas.

"I was straight back into training when I got back into Auckland so I am just looking to get another fight lined up," he said.

"I'm ranked now, so I'm number 14 in the world. So it's just like trying to pick a fight with one of those guys (top 10 lightweight fighters)."

Hooker hopes to get a shot at fighting on the UFC's Fight Night in Adelaide in December.

"It's notoriously difficult to get a ranked fighter to accept a fight with you and I'm finding out that the hard way.

"I think it's good to stay relevant and active in the sport as well as coaching."

Hooker has a record of 18 wins with seven losses in MMA.

He has won seven bouts either by submission or KO in the UFC with three unanimous decision losses.

Hooker is looking to line up another fight on the UFC Fight Night Adelaide card in December. Source: 1 NEWS



'I'm going to do great things' - Kiwi fighter Israel Adesanya's amazing journey from Whanganui to the UFC

From fighting in Whanganui to becoming one of the star's in the UFC middleweight division.

New Zealand UFC fighter Israel Adesanya reveals he has had to fight for everything in his career in mixed martial arts.

The Nigeria-born middleweight told 1 NEWS that he knew he was destined for greatness in the fighting game, eight years ago before making the move to Auckland to train.

"I always knew I was going to do this, it's weird man even in Whanganui. I remember the last time I was in Whanganui I had a bit of a scuffle," said Adesanya.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 06:  (R-L) New Zealand fighter Israel Adesanya punches Brad Tavares in their middleweight bout during The Ultimate Fighter Finale event inside The Pearl concert theatre at Palms Casino Resort on July 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
New Zealand fighter Israel Adesanya punches Brad Tavares in their middleweight bout during The Ultimate Fighter Finale event inside The Pearl concert theatre at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Source: Getty

"You know same s*** different night, people try and test you because you are a fighter.

"I was like 'f*** this place I'm out, I'm going to f****** do great things – what the f*** are you all going to do with all your lives?'

"And this is outside Stellar, this one little pub outside Whanganui. I was talking that s*** then."

The 29-year-old has a perfect MMA record of 14 wins and has won all three of his fights in the UFC.

"I just knew like 'I'm out of here I can't stay here.' It just felt like the shell was too small and I wanted my mind to expand more than my shell.

"Fast-forward now I am travelling the world for free and I just kick ass on the way."

Adesanya says his hate for US rival Derek Brunson is genuine and he predicts he will finish him in the first round or second round. Source: 1 NEWS

In February 2010 the man nicknamed 'The Last Stylebender' put all his eggs in one basket and made the bold move to go to Auckland to enhance his fighting credentials.

"I always knew, I didn't tell my parents until the day before because I knew they would try and stop me," he said.

"So I just packed everything in my car and I was like f*** this."

Adesanya admitted his MMA coach Eugene Bareman from City Kickboxing tried to convince to try out other gyms.

"I just showed up at the gym… Eugene (coach) was on the coach with one of his students and he looks at me like 'what are you doing here?'

"Because I was here in 2009 and I was like 'I moved here, can I train here?' and he was like 'yeah... sure'.

"He kind of tried to shoo me away a little bit to another gym because that fight in 2009 I was just horrible, it was an amateur MMA fight."

Adesanya says he has always been a man of his word and walks and the walk.

"There is a method to my madness – so in that way I have to do it. If I don't do it I look like an eat-a** and I don't ever want to look like that."

He spoke highly of his fellow City Kickboxing teammate, Kiwi flyweight fighter Kai Kara-Frane who was signed by the UFC last month.

"He's (Kara-France) where he belongs. He's worked with the best and he’s working with the best now.

"And I just feel it's his time, it’s our time. There is always trends in fighting – there was a time when the Brazilians were on top."

"There is a lot of Brazilian champions and then eventually the Americans - the same thing."

Adesanya says Australians and New Zealanders are changing the game in the UFC.

"There is just waves, just trends. Right now it is our time, the Oceania time, the ANZAC time."

The current middleweight UFC champion is New Zealand born Australian fighter Robert Whittaker.

Adesanya is set to fight US rival Derek Brunson in November at UFC 230 in New York.

The Kiwi is ranked ninth in the middleweight division with Brunson ranked sixth.

The Kiwi fighter knew he was destined for big things, packing everything in his car back in 2010 and making the move to Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

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'I'm not going to hold a grudge' - youngster forgives AFL puncher

Fremantle youngster Andrew Brayshaw says he forgives Andrew Gaff for the punch that broke his jaw, but he wants to discuss the incident in person.

Brayshaw underwent surgery on his jaw on Sunday night after copping the off-the- ball hit, and he could lose up to five teeth.
Gaff was suspended for eight weeks over the incident.

Brayshaw says his brother - West Coast's Hamish Brayshaw - helped convince him that Gaff's punch was out of character.

Brayshaw has returned home to Melbourne to recover under the care of his parents, but he will meet Gaff over the coming weeks.

"The action itself is horrific. But the person that Andrew Gaff is, I forgive him and I'm not going to hold a grudge against him as a person," Brayshaw told the Seven Network.

"Hamish told me that out of all the people he knows, and all the people in the AFL, Andrew Gaff would be the last person to do it.

Andrew Brayshaw after he was punched by Andrew Gaff. Source: Twitter/Liam Vertigan.

"I don't think he intended to (hit my face). And having watched his post- tribunal interview and post-match interview, it seems like he is showing care and he genuinely does feel sick about what happened.

"(A) good bloke has made a bad mistake.

"I've been going up and down with emotions throughout the last few days, but I've come to the conclusion that as a person I'm not holding any grudge towards him.

"I actually look forward to meeting him. I want to hear it from his perspective and just see what was going through his head."
Brayshaw hopes the scrutiny on Gaff will now subside.

"A good man making a bad error, I don't think he deserves to be put under any more scrutiny," Brayshaw said.

"He's living with the weight of what has happened on his shoulders for, I don't know how long, but I just definitely want to move on from this and not take it any further.

"I feel to move on with my career and to move on with my life, we both need to do this - and the sooner the better for me."

Brayshaw won't be able to eat solid food for the next four weeks, and he thinks his pre-season for 2019 will also be slightly affected.


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