All Dan Hooker wants is a challenge.
Matched up against Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champion Gilbert Burns at UFC226 on Sunday, Hooker ended what was expected to be the toughest fight of his UFC career in 2min 29sec. For the second fight in a row, the 28-year-old Kiwi finished it in the first round.
Since making the step up to lightweight from featherweight in 2017, Hooker (18-7-0; 7-3- UFC) has four wins from four fights – and none have gone the distance.
Now, in search of a true test, has set his sights on former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Heading into UFC226 ranked No.12 among lightweights, Pettis submitted No.9-ranked Michael Chiesa in the second round.
"I feel like it's a challenge," Hooker told MMA journalist Farah Hannoun.
"I watch Anthony Pettis and he's a very skilful fighter. That's someone I want to test myself against. We both fought on the same night, we both got out unscathed, and we're ready to go so I feel like we can put that together fairly quickly and I feel like that's a good fight for me.
Pettis (21-7-0; 13-7-0 UFC) would certainly give Hooker someone he can measure himself against. The 31-year-old American has shown that, like Hooker, he's dangerous both on his feet and on the mat; with seven wins by submission and three by knockout.
Hooker went through a seven-week long fight camp to prepare for his bout against Burns which paid off in the ring, but he might have felt a bit short changed. Hooker only wore one decent shot from Burns, early in the piece, and looked fresh enough to have fought again later that night.
The UFC will return down under later this year, with an event in Adelaide to be held on December 2, which was expected to feature plenty of New Zealand and Australian talent.
However, Hooker had no intentions of waiting another five months to get back inside the octagon.
"I can definitely get another fight in before that next show in Adelaide in December."
Hooker's domination of Burns will likely see him earn a top-15 ranking for the first time in his UFC career when they are updated this week, which bodes well in his hopes of meeting a ranked fighter next.
"I deserve a spot in the rankings and my performances have outshone a lot of those other guys in No.10 to 15."