Poirier (25-6 MMA, 17-5 UFC), the former UFC interim lightweight champion, is slated to return against of one of the division’s surging contenders in Hooker (20-8 MMA, 10-4 UFC).
The matchup is in the works to headline the UFC’s June 27 event,
According to sources, the UFC’s preference is to hold the fight at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. However, it is contingent on the lifting of ongoing travel restrictions and Hooker’s ability to fly overseas from New Zealand. If Hooker is unable to enter the country due to limitations brought on the by COVID-19 crisis, the bout is likely to be shifted to a card on UFC’s “Fight Island” in July
Poirier, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA lightweight rankings, came up short of becoming undisputed champion in September when he suffered a submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 in September. “The Diamond” put together a nice run prior to the defeat, topping the likes of Max Holloway, Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez.
Since the loss to Nurmagomedov, Poirier underwent hip surgery and had been pushing for a fight that “really excites” him, even if it meant a move up to the welterweight division. He will stay at his lightweight home, though, for his sixth consecutive main event.
No. 10 Hooker (20-8 MMA, 10-4 UFC), meanwhile, will get his second headliner in a row, but he’ll hope this one is less controversial than the last. Hooker got a hometown spot in New Zealand at UFC on ESPN+ 26 earlier this year and came out with a split decision win over Paul Felder.
The latest lineup for the UFC’s June 27 card includes:
- Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker
- Viviane Araujo vs. Jennifer Maia
- Alexa Grasso vs. Ji Yeon Kim