WATCH: Kiwi 'Dan The Hangman' Hooker back to his best after epic first-round UFC knockout

UFC 22/07/2019

Kiwi UFC lightweight Dan Hooker needed less than three minutes to floor James Vick and shoot back into the division's upper echelon with a statement knockout win in San Antonio on Sunday (NZT).

At the site of one of America's most famed battles, Hooker made a stand of his own – bouncing back from his demoralising defeat to Edson Barboza with a victory that re-establishes him as a threat to any fighter in the promotion's most talent-rich division.

The Kiwi brought the contest to an end with a surgical sequence of strikes, feinting with the right hand over the top before planting a heavy left hook right on Vick's jaw to send the towering Texan to the mat.

The shots that he immediately rained from above were barely required as the referee stepped in to bring a halt to proceedings.

It was Hooker's eighth finish inside the Octagon through 12 bouts to date, and perhaps his most meaningful yet judging by his post-fight address.

"I trained the hardest I've ever trained in my life for this fight because I know you don't mess with Texas, so I came here prepared" Hooker told the appreciative AT&T Centre crowd.

"I'm just doing what my coaches say and that turns out with results."

WATCH: Dan Hooker talk about his spontaneous fight call times with Jay & Dunc below: