At UFC 257 back in January, it took lightweight Michael “Iron” Chandler just one round to knock out his much taller opponent, Dan Hooker, giving fans one of the most memorable UFC debuts in recent history.
Since then, Chandler says, he’s received a number of comments from fans asking how he prepared for the fight. Last week, in a detailed Instagram post, Chandler responded with a video shot during a recent workout that included a beat-by-beat technique breakdown.
Chandler, who is 5’8″, begins the post by acknowledging that the 6’0″ Hooker was the “longer” opponent, and would likely try to control the distance between the fighters by evading and attacking with leg kicks. Generally, fighters with a longer “reach” (which is typically measured by wingspan in the UFC) are considered to have an advantage since they can strike their opponent more easily without putting themselves at immediate risk.
“When you are fighting a taller fighter, remember—the body will always be there when the head is not, so start with the body and it will start opening up the head as you gauge distance,” Chandler wrote. “In my case, it worked out even better that Hooker would always be worried about the takedown, even if he wouldn’t admit it before the fight.”
In the clip, Chandler then goes on to demonstrate the full sequence, which involves two jabs to the face, two to the body, followed by an overhand left. “Everybody called it a hook, but it was really an overhand left since I’m a southpaw,” Chandler says, crediting the stance shift to retired pro kickboxer Henri Hooft.
A post shared by Michael Chandler (@mikechandlermma)
“As you can see we covered a lot of distance here, that’s how you handle a longer taller fighter like Dan Hooker versus my short self,” he says, demonstrating the sequence once more.
“Nothing fancy or spectacular, but it sure is dangerous,” he adds in the caption. “Keep improving.”
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