Following a four-fight skid in the UFC and going winless in 2010 and 2011, Dan Hardy took time off from completion to sharpen his tools. He has since reeled off back-to-back wins inside the famed Octagon.
We didn’t see much difference in his knockout win over Duane Ludwig at UFC 146 in May, but the British brawler is no longer just a brawler, as he showed in his UFC on Fuel TV 5 win over Amir Sadollah on Saturday in Nottingham, England.
Hardy paced himself through the opening round, finding his range and trying to keep the emotions of fighting in front of his hometown in check. As the second round began to play out, we saw a new and improved Hardy. He displayed improved takedown ability, game planning and a new skillset on the ground.
“I’ve got these skills now and I’ve been working on them for a year. I didn’t get to use them in my last fight unfortunately, so they were a surprise in this one,” said Hardy following the fight on Fuel TV’s post-show. “I’ve got a long way to go, though. I’ve got a lot to improve upon. A lot of the things we’ve been working on in training, I didn’t get to work tonight. So we’ve got some things to work on, but a little bit of progress tonight I think.”
The pressure of fighting at home has its benefits and drawbacks, but there is no place Hardy enjoys fighting more than Nottingham.
“There are pros and cons to it. If you’re in the hotel, you feel like you’re at work all week, whereas, obviously, if you’re at home you have to remind yourself to switch up when it’s time,” he said.
“It was great. I’ve been wanting to come back to the U.K. for a while and fight and obviously Nottingham is the ideal venue for me. I’ve got a lot of support here and the fans are so passionate and this arena has a lot of good memories for me.”
Many fighters who drop four fights in a row in the UFC get served their walking papers, but the organization took a chance on the popular and exciting fighter and no one appreciates it more than Hardy.
“First and foremost, I’m a huge UFC fan. I love this organization and to come out and fight for the UFC fans is at least just an honor. It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and I’ll always dig my heels in and fight my best for them,” he said.
And that’s why Hardy remained when so many others haven’t…
Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for all of your UFC on Fuel TV 5 post-fight coverage.