For Dan Hardy, UFC 120 represents a chance to get back on the horse, to put into effect changes that he learned during his five rounder with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. His plan, though, is still to plant Carlos Condit square in the face with a big shot.
“This is just a bad fight for Condit and I think he will realize that in the opening moments of the bout,” exclaimed the brash Briton before explaining his perspective. “He hasn’t fought anyone like me yet. I can do everything he does, but much more effectively than him. I am more aggressive, determined, and more powerful then him. I am going to throw him around that cage”
Fighting talk for sure, but something we have come to expect from Hardy, and it is something he is more than comfortable in firing off. He doesn’t mind getting into a war of words with his opponents as long as they realize it’s not just talk. He intends to back it up.
“I expect him to be aggressive and walk forward, but when I catch him with a clean shot I think he will either start to run away or go for a takedown. Calling me out was a bad choice and I think that the more footage he watches of me, the more he will realize this.”
Condit is in a position where he is looking to move himself into title contention. The thinking is that if he beats Hardy – who’s last bout was a title shot – then it sets him on the path towards gold. Having Greg Jackson in his corner and defining strategy is surely a positive for the American fighter, but Hardy isn’t sure that Condit will stick to it.
“It will be interesting with him now at Jackson’s. They always choose the safe game plan for a fight. Just look at Guillard the other day, he was moving away, playing to scorecards. It will be interesting to see if he has that effect on Condit. I think Carlos is quite an emotional fighter, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he goes off-strategy when he starts to get tagged.”
Always frank, Hardy feels that there isn’t an area of the fight where Condit has the edge.
“He has no range. I hit harder than him. I can outwork him on the feet. He won’t even have wrestling on me, as I am a totally different fighter now to what I was seven months ago. In fact, fighting on the ground is up to me, as I will take him down if and when I want. Wrestling won’t make this any easier for him.”
Hardy is certainly brimming with confidence ahead of the bout, specifically because he feels that Condit is a good style match-up for him. With the welterweight title picture having several players already in the frame, he is aware that this bout has more to do with defining the next batch of challengers.
“I hope that Condit shows his old form and brings his best. The thing is, he is really exciting to watch. He will always take a beating and there are a lot of fights for him in the UFC, but if he cant get past me, he wont get a sniff at the title,” he explained, adding that maybe that realization has dawned on Condit too.
“I think he fights for respect, being the former WEC champion, he came here (to the UFC) and hasn’t been doing so well. He is starting to feel he needs to do something special. In my opinion, he is outside the Top 10 and he sees me as a way of getting into it. He wants the belt and it is maybe starting to dawn on him that it isn’t going to happen. In both his last fights, he was lucky to come away with the win.”
Whatever Hardy may say, it is obvious that both fighters mean business and have been training hard. Condit has buried himself in Jackson’s and Hardy in the Rough House, both have had a long camp in preparation for the encounter, and there will surely be fireworks on fight night because they both like to bang. But even given the stakes, Hardy believes he is in the better position for victory.
“Fighters at some point in their career peak and then for a couple of years struggle. I am not sure if that is the case with Condit. He has had some great fights in the WEC, I’ll give credit him for that, but those guys wouldn’t have been a force if they were in the UFC. The Martin Kampmann fight is his best here so far, but it hasn’t been fantastic for him. Even in the Rory MacDonald fight, if it hadn’t been for that flurry, he would have lost that as well.”