Kiwi Lightweight Dan Hooker Calls Atlantic City ‘A Sh*thole’ Ahead of his UFC Fight with Jim Miller

Up-and-coming lightweight Dan Hooker is set to face Jim Miller this weekend, in front of Miller’s hometown crowd in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

And the kiwi has already created controversy before he even stepping inside the Octagon; speaking on a live Q&A for the UFC, Hooker took a swipe at the proud resort city, right off the bat.

“I’m here in the…’beautiful’…Atlantic City,” Hooker stated, before going on to confide in his viewers that “It’s a sh*thole.”

Realising that there was an American UFC official in the room, Hooker quickly checked that he wasn’t a local “You’re not from Atlantic City, right?” he asked.

Luckily for The Hangman, the official said he was from “Nearby but not here, so you’re fine.”

Hooker took one more jab at the city – referring to it as a ‘tourist town’ – before taking questions from his live-viewers.

The lightweight – who comes into this one with a record of 15-7 – was a lot more respectful of his upcoming opponent than the venue in which they will be facing each other.

“Man, that guy’s [Jim Miller’s] had a black belt since I was 10 years old,” Hooker stated. “That guy is very strong; grappling, striking, he’s very well-rounded. I’m expecting a very tough matchup from Miller.”

Hooker scored a beautiful KO over Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night 110

It’s not the first time that The Hangman has praised Miller in the lead-up to their showdown. Speaking on Submission Radio recently, Hooker had this to say:

“Jim Miller’s been a big name since I first started watching UFC. I think this fight will tie him with Michael Bisping for the most UFC fights of all time. I think he’s on 28, and then our fight will make him 29, so that will tie him for the most UFC fights ever. So there’s a lot of guys going around calling themselves ‘UFC veterans’ after a couple of fights, but Jim Miller is about as veteran as you come. So this is a fight, you know, I relish a name like that. I love it when you get that name and it’s someone you look up to, it’s someone you recognise their name and you think back to all the fights you’ve seen them have all the wars. So yeah, I like seeing the posters up there with our names squared off against each other.”

“I wasn’t a big fan of watching fights until a few years into my career, but Jim Miller’s, I’ve seen many, many of his fights. Like, he’s fought everyone. He’s fought Nate Diaz, he’s fought everyone in the lightweight division. And you go top to bottom on the top 15 and it’s hard to find a name he hasn’t competed against. He’s a tough guy to put away. I’ve got a lot of respect for Jim Miller.”

It’s hard to no respect this guy!

When asked if he saw any chinks in the New Jersey native’s armour, Hooker could only single out one.

“Maybe [shots] to the body, I think. He’s got no neck, he’s got no head, he’s really hard to put away, maybe to the body. It’s kind of the only weakness. I don’t really think I’m gonna waste my time trying to look for his neck and choke him out; he’s got no neck. He’s a walking head, very hard to find the neck, and if I can’t get the head then, you know, the body is the next best thing.”

Hooker in his last fight vs Marc Diakiese. He might not be trying a guillotine against Miller though…

When asked who he wants after the Miller fight (assuming he wins), Hooker said that he would like a ranked opponent but if he could have his pick the entire lightweight roster, he’d go for fan favourite Justin Gaethje.

“I definitely want a ranked opponent after this fight; top 15, top 10. I’ll be asking for someone, definitely ranked – after this fight, should it all go well.

“If I could pick anyone I would fight [Justin] Gaethje. Not saying because he’s easy or anything he just comes to fight and he puts on a very entertaining matchup so that would be the top. [Anthony] Pettis or Gaethje would be the top of my list.”

Atlantic City wasn’t the only thing to come under fire from the New Zealander: he also drew issue with fighters/commentators Daniel Cormier and Dominick Cruz for their criticism of Hooker’s teammate, Israel Adesanya, during his fight with Marvin Vettori last weekend.

“Bro, DC [Daniel Cormier] and [Dominick] Cruz calling out his [Adesanya’s] ground game kinda p*ssed me off. He got taken down, he was down for, like, 30 seconds and they were saying he’s got no ground game. What do you want him to do in 30 seconds?”

And he wasn’t done with the light heavyweight champ; when asked who he was backing out of Stipe Miocic and DC at UFC 226, Hooker was unequivocal.

“Stipe or Cormier? I feel like Stipe’s gonna smash him. I don’t feel like that’s a very competitive fight, at all: he’s [Cormier’s] not a heavyweight.”

Hooker’s comments have added another layer of spice to an already tantalising lightweight matchup and although he is the strong favourite (paying $1.28 compared to $3.75 for Miller), one way to fire up a hometown fighter is to insult his hometown! We can’t wait for this one!