Esther Lin, MMA Fighting file photo

Arnold Allen is one of the brightest prospects in the featherweight division, and in 2022, he’s hoping to make the jump to bonafide contender.

Currently the No. 11 featherweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, Allen is undefeated since 2014, with a perfect 8-0 record inside the UFC. Normally, that type of résumé would place a contender on the cusp of a title shot, however a series of injuries and some last-minute opponent changes have left Allen without the kind of marquee name on his hit list that would catapult him into title contention. But with Allen now set to face Dan Hooker at UFC London, “Almighty” hopes to finally get himself into the title conversation.

“It was an immediate yes,” Allen told The MMA Hour when asked about Hooker. “Obviously, I’ve got a lot of respect for Dan Hooker. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t. He’s a huge challenge. He’s got a lot of wins over some big, big names, and he’s been in there with the best of the best. So if I can’t prove myself here, I don’t know what fight will.”

It will be Hooker’s first fight at featherweight since 2016, however Hooker still is arguably the biggest name Allen will have faced in his UFC career. That’s why, when the UFC was looking for a featherweight to step in and challenge Alexander Volkanovski for the title after Max Holloway was forced out with injury last month, Allen didn’t even bother putting his name out there.

“To be honest, I saw all the people that were open to taking it and I was like, ‘I’m not gonna get it ahead of any of these guys,’” Allen said. “(My winning streak) means nothing. Saw that and was like, ‘Ah, whatever. Just keep doing what I’m doing.’”

Unfortunately for Allen, that situation still ended up hurting his divisional aspirations. Following his win over Sodiq Yusuff last April, Allen was expecting to get get a matchup against Chan Sung Jung next. But when “The Korean Zombie” was tapped as the replacement for Holloway against Volkanovski, Allen then had to shift to Hooker.

Still, Allen believes that a win over Hooker is enough to finally get him over the hump.

“I was expecting Korean Zombie,” Allen said. “We were expecting something like that, but then obviously he got the call up for the title shot, so that’s off the cards. But I’m happy with the matchup. I think it’s a good one. This should be the one, if I can get the win here, to put my name out there finally.”

UFC London takes place on March 19 at the O2 Arena in London, England. The card will be headlined by a heavyweight matchup between Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall.

By

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.