It’s a rare moment in the UFC when a fighter gets another shot after four losses in a row, but Dan Hardy knew going into his last bout that he was in a do or die situation.
Even with the support of UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta, who is a big fan of Hardy, the British welterweight had to know a fifth loss would likely mean the end of his career inside the Octagon.
Well, Hardy certainly made the most of the situation because he knocked out Duane “Bang” Ludwig midway through the first round to get back on the right track.
While Dan Hardy’s story is far from over, the ending at UFC 146 was the kind of perfect tale that rarely happens that way, but it was a great moment that he surely needed.
“For me it was the way it was supposed to end. It was the way all my fights are supposed to end, and how I always predict them ending,” Hardy told MMAWeekly Radio. “Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen.
“The thing with Duane, and I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it could have been either way that night. He hit me with a good shot early on, and it’s just one of those things you roll the dice and you’re willing to stand there and trade punches, you’re going to get caught, and it was my night that night.”
The win lifted a world of pressure off of Hardy’s shoulders, but in a sport where you’re only as good as your last fight, he knows that his next fight is just as important. The next one may even end up being more important because it’s Hardy’s return to his home country of England where he faces Amir Sadollah at this weekend’s UFC on Fuel TV 5 show from Nottingham, England.
It’s been nearly three years since Hardy won in his home country and the bitter taste of a loss to Carlos Condit on his home soil still hurts, but now this is his chance to return to England and give the fans what they’ve been waiting for – a Dan Hardy victory.
“It’s essential, especially with it being in Nottingham. There have been a lot of fans waiting for me to come back to the U.K. and fight in front of my hometown crowd, and it’s just not been feasible recently. I have a lot of people that have been waiting a long time that maybe can’t travel to Vegas to watch my last fight, and I’ve got to go back and give those fans the show that they deserve for the support that they’ve given me,” Hardy stated.
Coming home to England means a lot to Dan Hardy, but he’s not going out for his bout against Amir Sadollah thinking “win at all costs.” He’s thinking about the primal nature of fighting, and if he’s successful, so be it, but ultimately he just wants to fight.
“I’m doing this sport for no other reason than I love it and that’s really the bottom line for me. If I was looking to make a load of money, I would be a boxer. Obviously, now we’re seeing Jon Jones picking up Nike sponsorships, there’s money to be made now, but when I got into it, it was because I loved the sport,” Hardy commented.
“Nothing’s changed. I want to get in there and fight guys. I’m a fighter and I come to fight, and I think as long as you show up with that mentality, the fight is going to be exciting because you’re trying to beat the guy up.”
So when the fans show up in Nottingham this weekend, they can expect and old-school Dan Hardy performance, and judging by his record in those kinds of fights, he’s going to do just fine.
Tune into Wednesday’s edition of MMAWeekly Radio to hear the full interview with UFC on Fuel 5′s Dan Hardy