by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The learning curve in MMA is a tough road to walk sometimes.
British fighter Dan Hardy treaded on that very path at UFC 111 when he faced welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and lost by unanimous decision after a five round fight. No one questioned Hardy’s heart after the fight, but he admits it was tough to swallow.
Staying in the United States for a few months after the fight, Hardy spoke candidly with MMAWeekly Radio about the fight with GSP, and how he looks back on the bout just a couple of weeks later.
Admitting that he only went back to watch the fight once, Hardy believes that St-Pierre did play it safe, but it doesn’t matter because he got the win.
“He obviously didn’t want to take any risks in the fight, fair enough. He’s got a lot riding on the fight, that’s fair enough,” said Hardy. “There’s winning, and ‘winning’ and no disrespect to Georges, but that’s not how I would want to win a fight. But he got the job done and that’s why he’s got the belt and I haven’t.”
GSP did lock up a Kimura during the fight that saw the British fighter’s arm go in a direction that no one’s should, and Hardy even let out a scream in pain when the Canadian was twisting and turning the hold. Still, there was never a thought to give up.
“I’m just stubborn. That’s about 98 percent of my ground game is stubbornness,” said Hardy. “He got me in the position, and I knew it was coming as soon as he got a hand on my wrist. It’s a position that he likes and I knew as soon as he felt like he got a lock on the arm, he was going to try and wrench it around my back. I’ve got a really flexible shoulder, or at least I have now, but I’m fine. It wasn’t something that was going to get me to tap, that’s for sure.”
Prior to the fight, Hardy was engaged in a war of words with St-Pierre as the two filmed the UFC Primetime show leading into their championship bout. Now that the fight is over, Hardy has nothing harsh to say about the champion, but still has an opinion on how the fight went down, and St-Pierre’s style to get the victory.
“All trash talking aside now cause obviously the fight’s done and out of the way, and I’ll be saving it now for my next fight against him, but I did say it in the build up to the fight that he’s not a fighter. He goes out there to win the fight, that’s what he does,” Hardy said.
“In my opinion, the way to win a fight is to go in there and you take it from your opponent. You beat it out of them, and that’s how I always want to approach my fights. Some people are different and Georges approaches it like a professional athlete approaches a sport. He goes out there and does what he needs to do to win.”
Hardy still sees GSP as a challenge that he hopes to conquer one day, on his way to creating his own place in the history of MMA.
“At the end of the day, he’s still an opponent and I do want to fight him again,” said Hardy.
“People probably think I’m big headed by saying this, but before the fight, stepping in there, I was either like I’m going to knock him out, or I’m going to be completely overwhelmed by him, and realize I don’t belong in there. But neither of those things happened. I didn’t land that shot to stop the fight, but at the same time I didn’t feel overwhelmed, I felt outpointed.”
No injuries came to Hardy as a result of the fight so physically he’s fine, but he admits that mentally he’s a bit drained and wants to take a few weeks to relax and recover. Hardy is also honest to see the faults in his own game that cost him against GSP, and he’ll go back to the drawing board when he returns to training.
“All I need to do now is get back in the gym and get to work on those areas of the game and bring them up to speed,” he said. “I don’t think the title’s too far in the distance for me. I think I can get there and I can hold the belt and basically build a legacy in the sport. I’m just not quite there yet.”
As far as timing for his return to action, Hardy says he hasn’t heard from the UFC yet, but while he’s hopeful for a little time off, he’s ready to do the assassin’s work when Joe Silva makes the call.
“When I get that call from the UFC, I’ll start thinking about getting myself ready, and I don’t mind when the fight is,” said Hardy. “I know there’s one coming up in the U.K. later on in the year, maybe that will be a good option, but at the end of the day I’m a mercenary for the UFC and whoever needs beaten up next is the next on the line.”