by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Beating Georges St-Pierre may get Dan Hardy the welterweight title, and if he wins it will likely earn him the top spot as the best 170lb fighter in everyone’s ranking system, but one person who doesn’t believe he’ll be champion by beating GSP is Hardy himself.
The Team Ruffhouse fighter spoke with MMAWeekly Radio recently, and he disclosed that beating St-Pierre, while a great win, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the champion, even though he’ll take the title belt.
“One thing I have accepted, and one thing that’s obvious is that once I’ve knocked him out and I’ve got the belt, people are still not going to look at me like I’m the champion,” said Hardy. “They’re going to want me to fight 3 or 4 more guys before they go okay he deserves the belt now.”
Some of Hardy’s harshest critics have come from inside his own division when speaking about whether or not he deserves this chance to fight St-Pierre. To hear him tell it, Hardy says the road to the championship really begins with knocking out GSP, and then throwing down the gauntlet and welcoming all challengers.
“The belt will be a nice token for the knockout, but I’ve got a long way to go before I’m the champion,” said Hardy. “I can’t knock him out and be the champion in one fight, that’s not going to work.”
Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes has said in the past that just winning the title is not enough, it’s defending the belt that truly makes you a champion. Hardy feels like it’s going to take more than one or two wins to truly prove he belongs as the UFC’s welterweight king.
“I’ve got three or four more fights before I’m respected as the champion,” Hardy stated.
The first test will be to see if he can get past Georges St-Pierre, which is obviously no easy task, but one the British heavy hitter welcomes on March 27.