The welterweight division in the UFC is stacked with talent – and that’s a fact – one that hasn’t slipped past Dan Hardy’s attention. Having been in the position of title contender himself in the past he is all too aware that there is a vast selection of fighters who are currently jostling for their position in the pecking order.
“I see the welterweight division being divided into circles. There is a circle in the middle with Georges St-Pierre there, just outside of that is the challenger pool with guys that are in contention or within a couple of fights from earning their shot, and outside of that is all the other guys who are very close to moving the middle space,” offers the Nottingham based fighter.
Obviously, he see’s himself as being in the pool that is only a few fights away from another stab, but who else occupies that space with him?
“John Fitch is there waiting. I think that will be a very interesting rematch, and I think that the winner of B.J. Penn and Matt Hughes occupies that space as well, with Hughes proving in the Almeida fight that he is still game,” he explains. But what about Chris Lytle who appears to have lined up the winner of the Hardy/Condit bout as his next opponent?
“I would love a fight with Lytle. He is exciting and I enjoy his fights. It would be a great fight stylistically as he would bring everything he’s got and so would I. I would love to throw down with him, not only to win, but to have a good time as well.”
Does Hardy feel that because of his brash personality that puts him in the firing line?
“Not at all, I just think that out of all the contenders in the division I am the most available to get into the title picture. They obviously don’t think I am going to smother them, that I will take risks, and punch, so they might see it as an easier fight, that they have to risk getting knocked out or take me down. They know I come to fight and not to play it safe on the judges’ scorecards.”
Despite feeling that he is in that immediate pool of contenders that are within striking distance of a title shot, Hardy intends to draw on the experience of his last fight and come into his next encounter with a new set of tools, fully prepared for the worst Georges St-Pierre, or indeed, whoever wears gold at the time.
“There are so many fights in the division and at the end of the day I am here to fight. It’s up to the UFC, but I am hopeful that within three or four wins I will get another stab. It’s down to them and for the moment I am just concerned about having fights that will help me improve.”