Here’s how it goes in sports: It’s Australia and New Zealand against the world, unless it’s Australia vs. New Zealand in which case there’s quite the heated rivalry. We saw that in the main event of UFC 243 where the Melbourne crowd was clearly behind their boy Bobby Knuckles (also sometimes referred to as Robert Whittaker) over Israel Adesanya.

Fortunately for Adesanya’s City Kickboxing teammate and fellow kiwi Dan Hooker, there was no such conflicts of interest against New Yorker Al Iaquinta. So all 56,000 fans at Marvel Stadium were on his side as he earned an impressive decision victory in the co-main fight of the evening.

After the win he set his sights way up the lightweight rankings, turning his entire post-fight victory speech into a fiery call out of Dustin Poirier.

“Dustin Poirier, I’m going to smash your face in,” Hooker yelled. “Meet me in New Zealand 2020, and I’m going to end you!”

Unfortunately for Hooker, it sounds like Poirier is hoping for a red panty night.

”I’m fighting the Irishman next,” Poirier wrote on Twitter. “You’re close but not yet buddy keep punching. Dan can fight Cowboy [Cerrone] … I’m chilling out until something really excites me. Working on my craft.”

That news made it back to Hooker by the time he sat down for the post-fight press conference.

“He’s going to fight who?” Hooker asked with a laugh and eye roll. “He wants to sit around chasing leprechauns, that’s his own problem. If he wants a real fight, if he wants a real fighter that will take it, he knows where to find me.”

For someone who had just swung pretty hard for a Poirier fight, Hooker took the dismissal well enough, basically shrugging it off. The key goal for him, it seems, is headlining the next New Zealand card. That’s rumored to be going down sometime in the first months of 2020.

”I feel like I’m a five round fighter, so I wanted to take the full 15 minutes and showcase that,” Hooker said. “I feel like if I had another two rounds, I would have stopped him. For sure. With another 10 minutes in there, picking him apart, that would have stopped him. I wanted to prove I’m ready for a a five round fight.”

With the New Zealand card most likely being a Fight Night level event, we doubt Dan’s teammate Israel Adesanya will be headlining it. That puts homeboy Hooker in a strong position to pick up the main event slot. Who he’d fight is the big mystery, but as of now it doesn’t look like it’ll be Dustin Poirier.

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