UFC lightweight contender Arman Tsarukyan no longer harbors any interest in fighting promotional veteran Dan Hooker.
At one point last year, a feud between Tsarukyan and Hooker was blossoming, and it appeared that the pair were on a certain collision course. The Russian-Armenian ignited the rivalry after accepting the New Zealander’s open challenge for UFC 266. In the end, both men secured September fights against other opponents.
While Tsarukyan accused Hooker of accepting an “easy” matchup with Nasrat Haqparast, “The Hangman” suggested that the rising contender was already booked against Christos Giagos before accepting his callout.
Despite facing other opponents, it appeared that the pair’s respective September victories would lead to them crossing paths, especially after Tsarukyan expressed a desire to “kill” the UFC mainstay and called for the bout to be booked later in the year in an interview with MMA News.
But in the eight months since, Hooker has lost consecutive fights, first to top-five lightweight Islam Makhachev. Featherweight contender Arnold Allen then spoiled the New Zealander’s return to 145 pounds at UFC London earlier this year.
With that form in mind, and with a dominant display against Joel Álvarez sending him in the opposite direction up the 155-pound ladder, Tsarukyan has firmly moved on from a potential clash with Hooker.
Tsarukyan: Beating Hooker Would Waste Time
During a recent exclusive interview with MMA News’ own James Lynch, Tsarukyan discussed Hooker’s recent commitment to lightweight, answering whether he’d still be open to settling his score with “The Hangman” inside the Octagon.
Given that Hooker is ranked two places below him and has fallen to defeat in four of his last five outings, the Russian-Armenian sees no need to throw down with the New Zealander, even suggesting that facing and beating him would be a ‘waste of time’.
“No, no (it would not interest me). Now, he’s not a good fighter. Before, yes. He lost his last two or three fights, and he beat someone from the unranked guys, Nasrat,” said Tsarukyan. “He’s not interesting for me, because it wastes time to beat him. If I beat him, they’ll say, ‘Oh, he’s (on a losing skid).’ There’s no point to beat him now.”
Catch our full exclusive interview with #11-ranked UFC lightweight Arman Tsarukyan below:
While Hooker finds himself at a crossroads after failing to find form back at featherweight, Tsarukyan is ready to continue his surge towards contention this summer.
After brutally dispatching Álvarez with an onslaught of elbows earlier this year, the 25-year-old looks likely to get his first taste of five-round action against #12-ranked Mateusz Gamrot, whom he’ll share the cage with at the UFC Fight Night event on June 25.
With a win, Tsarukyan could secure his place in the divisional top 10, and will certainly stake his claim for a big-name opponent next time out. Should that happen, Hooker will need a fare few wins before bringing a bout with Tsarukyan back on his table.
How do you think a fight between Arman Tsarukyan and Dan Hooker would play out?