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Chael Sonnen believes Dustin Poirier has a mental challenge ahead of Dan Hooker clash

Chael Sonnen believes Dustin Poirier has a mental challenge vs Dan Hooker
Chael Sonnen believes Dustin Poirier has a mental challenge vs Dan Hooker

Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker is being touted as one of the fights of the year

Ariel Helwani recently claimed that the Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker fight at the weekend could be one of the best of the year.

While this isn’t for a belt, it does feature two of the toughest lightweights in the business. Poirier is a former interim champion and lost his title to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Dustin Poirier is one of the top Lightweight stars
Dustin Poirier of United States looks on against Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia during their Lightweight Title Bout during UFC 242 (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Hooker, for his part, is looking to get into the championship act and has spoken about this clash being a 50-50 fight.

However, Chael Sonnen was highlighting how this could be a mental challenge for Poirier. The 31-year-old former champion was on cloud 9 after winning the belt, but he hasn’t fought since losing to Khabib.

Sonnen went on to explain how this is a different challenge for Poirier against the Kiwi star:

“Whatever goes up must come down. When you are walking into a fight with a belt around your waist that says ‘you are the greatest’, when they built an arena for your fight and then you go into anything, you are going down.

“Does that affect you? Does that affect your motivation, your drive? I can’t answer that question.”

Other fighters are affected

While Sonnen couldn’t highlight what Poirier would have been going through at the moment, the former UFC star confirmed that other stars have been affected in similar circumstances.

Sonnen went on to say that this wasn’t going to be a physical test for Poirier but a mental one:

“This is not a physical test for Dustin Poirier. He’s been in physical tests, he passes those with flying colours. For the first time in a meaningful amount in his career, not the first time in his career, but for the first time in a meaningful period of time, he has a mental game in front of him.

“He now has a mental challenge.”

Sonnen ended by saying that Poirier has been in championship bouts and five-round main events.

However, Poirier has to now think about what is the point of all this and what is at stake, that is something that the American has never thought about in a long time.

Dan Hooker believes he can defeat Dustin Poirier
Dan Hooker of New Zealand celebrates his victory over Al Iaquinta of the United States fight in their Lightweight bout during UFC 243 (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Sonnen repeated he didn’t know how Poirier would react to these questions. However, the UFC legend did say that Hooker is moving up in the division, and his next goal would be a championship bout.

The Kiwi star has won his last three UFC fights and is 20-8 in his MMA career.

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Written by Saiyed Adeem Karim

Ditching a corporate job to follow a dream isn't easy, but when football comes calling, who can say no? Been following the beautiful game since 1998. Liverpool addict, F1 fanatic!

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