by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Everybody loves an underdog. The NCAA tournament features the upset wins every year. Buster Douglas defeating Mike Tyson is almost an annual showcase. And Dan Hardy will look to etch his name as an underdog overcoming the odds when he faces Georges St-Pierre on March 27 in New Jersey.
The brash Brit has no illusions going into the fight against St-Pierre that he’s a heavy underdog. Current betting lines on BetUs.com have Hardy as a +500 underdog, and he’s aware of his status, but he’s ready to defy the odds.
“I’m being counted out by about 98 percent of people in the world,” Hardy said when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio. “The betting lines have got me as a huge underdog, but I’m going into this fight with nothing to lose at all. That’s the difference, I can go in there and take risks, and I will take risks cause that’s the way I fight. I’m not there to eek out a decision, I want to knock him out, and that’s what I’m planning on doing.”
Being the underdog is something that’s worked well for him so far, and there’s no reason to change that way of thinking heading into this fight.
“I’ve got four fights in the UFC now, and every time I was supposed to get my ass kicked,” Hardy said. “It hasn’t happened yet, so the underdog situation works pretty well for me because I’m coming out on top every time.”
Hardy believes that many fans and critics are looking at his title shot with similar vision as when Matt Serra first stepped in to challenge St-Pierre for the welterweight title in 2007. After the fight was over, Serra was proclaimed as getting the “lucky” punch, or catching St-Pierre unprepared, but Hardy says there was no luck involved.
“I don’t believe in lucky shots. If somebody throws a shot, they mean to land it, and they mean to hurt the guy. And Serra did exactly that,” said Hardy. “He threw a good punch, he landed it cleanly, and GSP looked like Bambi. His legs were gone, and you can’t take that away from Serra.”
Taking risks and being willing to do things like look for a big punch is where Hardy believes he has a distinct advantage over the champion. St-Pierre has been accused of playing it safe since the loss to Serra, although it’s hard to argue with the dominant wins he’s had over some of the sports best fighters. Still, Hardy says that’s the biggest difference between him and St-Pierre.
“He’s a great athlete and he goes in there to win, but the difference between me and him is, he’s a great athlete, but I’m a fighter,” said Hardy. “My intention is to go in there and have a good fight, and see what happens, and part of that is taking risks. I think that’s the part that GSP’s lost; he’s not willing to take that risk anymore. He don’t want to put himself out there in case he loses his belt again.
“He doesn’t do it impressively, he doesn’t dominate anybody, and give anyone a serious beating, but he gets the job done.”
Taking full advantage of the opportunity, Hardy feels he’s more in a similar position with GSP from 2004, than with Serra when he fought the Canadian for the title.
“I’m in a similar situation to where GSP was the first time he fought Matt Hughes,” Hardy commented. “The difference is I’ve got a lot more belief in myself, and I’m not looking at GSP like ‘oh he’s a legend I can’t beat him.’ I’m looking at GSP like he’s the next guy on my record that’s going down.”
And Hardy says playing it safe, being the heavy favorite, will ultimately play against St-Pierre; and that’s all going to equal a win for the Brit at UFC 111.
“He’s under a lot of pressure in this fight, way more than I am,” said Hardy. “Cause he’s fighting a British guy, who’s had four fights in the UFC, come from nowhere, and I’m stepping in there with a damn good chance of putting him to sleep, and he knows that. All the pressure is on him.
“If he loses to me, that’s a pretty big dent in his legacy and he don’t want that.”