Should He Stay Or Should He Go Now? Does Dan Hardy Deserve Another Shot in the UFC?

March 31, 2011
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(Guest editorial by Brandon Fu)

Dan Hardy UFCDan “The Outlaw” Hardy at UFC Fight Night 24 on Saturday night lost his third consecutive fight, to super-sized welterweight contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. At this level of competition consistency is key and back to back losses is a quick way to set your career back to the minor leagues. MMA, however, is an individual sport. Every fighter is different and needs to be treated differently.

It took four straight losses before Keith Jardine got the boot. While Todd Duffee, a promising up-and-comer, who holds the record for the fastest knockout in the UFC (7 seconds), was handed his walking papers after his first loss in a fight that he was winning until he got caught with his hands down. Duffee’s release was later attributed to more of an attitude issue than a performance problem, but the loss was all the excuse needed to send him packing.

Dan Hardy is not Keith Jardine nor is he Todd Duffee. Hardy’s case should and will be handled differently than anyone else. His situation is as unique as his mohawk is red. To determine “The Outlaw’s” future with the UFC, we have to evaluate what he’s selling and if he can still close the deal.

Hardy’s product is brash, fun and entertaining. He burst into the MMA mainstream and quickly became a love him or hate him character. In the past, his ability to start and sell a fight has been nothing short of impressive.

He fast tracked himself to the Top 10 by starting a fight with then contender Marcus Davis. He sealed his number one contender status with a good performance against Mike Swick. At the pre-fight press conference of the Swick fight, Hardy gave Swick a Runners Up trophy. It was one of the funniest moves in pre-fight banter in the history of the sport. There was no doubt about Hardy’s ability to entertain. In the past, Hardy walked the talk, backing up his words with his in-Octagon actions.

Hardy has not been the same “Outlaw” since his loss to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, the fight that started his recent skid. Hardy was the first Englishman to get a title shot in the UFC. Going into that bout, he was certainly himself. He had plenty to say about what he was going to do to GSP. He was also very much himself when he was unable to compete with GSP when it became a grappling match. While a very competent striker, Hardy has never been known for wrestling or jiu-jitsu. The GSP fight was one that most never really expected him to win. The loss is respectable considering that GSP is in the top two on most pound-for-pound lists. Despite the loss, Hardy showed a lot of heart and resiliency against the future hall of famer and I don’t think anyone weighs the loss too heavily against him.

Hardy’s next fight was against Carlos Condit. Condit had a couple tough wins in less-than-dominant performances as well as a close decision loss in his first few UFC fights. Coming in, Hardy was the favorite, being a man who just had a title shot. Hardy seemed especially motivated for this fight because Condit asked for him specifically. That seemed to bother Hardy and really fire him up. While respect was given from both sides, Hardy, as usual, had plenty to say about his opponent. Despite his talk, this time he was unable to back it up and found himself on the wrong end of the Knockout of the Night.

Anthony Johnson putting the beatdown on Dan Hardy

Anthony Johnson putting the beatdown on Dan Hardy

In his most recent outing against Anthony Johnson, there was very little talk. The usual amount of respect was given and a little fun was poked at Johnson’s weight issues, but other than that, Hardy was not very outspoken. Hardy lost this fight from bell to bell. After a feeling out process in the beginning of the first round, Johnson threw a high kick that Hardy blocked most of with his arm, but was knocked to the canvas regardless. The rest of the fight was spent with Hardy fighting off of his back, mostly playing defense and trying to get to his feet. It was not the stand-up war that everyone expected and it certainly was not a Fight of the Night candidate. Hardy failed to deliver on all of the things that fans have come to expect of him. He did not hype the fight with his usual trash talk, and, keeping in mind that it takes two people to make a fight, Hardy failed to deliver an exciting bout.

In his last few fights, Hardy hasn’t been the guy that made him popular. Can Dan still close the deal? Can he still get the fans to buy his product? Maybe you can attribute this recent lack of success to bad match-ups.

The fact is GSP has made a career out of being a bad match-up for anyone. Johnson was not a great match-up for Hardy either. Johnson is a much bigger guy who neutralized Hardy’s strength in striking with his own. He is also a much more skilled wrestler, which is what won him the fight. What about Condit? Hardy has always been known for his striking. He and Condit threw the same punch at the same time and Condit’s was faster and cleaner. Maybe Hardy’s frustration with Condit caused him to be reckless and he paid for it.

Despite his recent troubles, Hardy has done a very good job of selling fights and, typically, performing. Just barely one year ago, Hardy fought for the welterweight championship.

But, we’re not here to make excuses.

Can he get back to what made him such a huge success in the first place?

After three straight losses in the UFC, does Hardy deserve one last chance?

  • wonggfan

    He is gotta go.

    I didn’t even know who he was until the GSP fight. And I wasn’t at all impressived by his peh-four-mahce (GSP voice).

    He is such a one dimensional fighter that Cro Cop looks well-rounded next to him. I just didn’t understand what the hype was about. You can’t compete against the best of the best with his level of striking and wrestling. Given his shit wrestling, his striking has to be really good. But it is not. He got KTFO recently.

    The funny thing is, guys like Hardy can’t make champion anywhere. Dream, Sengoku, SF, Bellator,…I mean…his role in the UFC is gate-keeping.

    • Frye557

      Given the right match-up, he’s a very entertaining fighter. He’s got a lot of experience, is fairly young, and will hopefully improve his TD.

      Though he lost his last three fights, I would still like the UFC to keep him around. I watch fights because they are entertaining. I don’t care how high a guy is ranked, an entertaining fighter is an entertaining fighter.

      I say give him one more fight, and if he chooses to ignore wrestling still, then he can go. But he’s too good for smaller organizations.

      • Frye557

        I think a fight with Demarques Johnson, it makes sense on paper, and would be a great fight overall. Even Lytle would be great. Hopefully he learns to stop the take down use his striking.

  • illeeturbabys

    id like to c him fight a few more times hes definatly a tough fighter, only condit finshed him, and gsp and rumble had him in all sorts of trouble but still ended up ina decision, he just need to stfu and hit the wrestling mat for a few hours a day….

    • armendo420

      the only reason the gsp hardy fight went to decidion was because gsp didnt wanna break his arm

      • illeeturbabys

        hey ive liked gsp since his fist fight in th octogon, but he was doin th kimoura wrong he even admitted it, n thts y he didnt tap, n thts why ididnt break….hardy didnt tap thts all im sayin hes a tough fighter most would have tapped…

  • XIRandomHeroIX

    Unfortunately this is MMA not boxing with 4oz. gloves. Hardy is a very one dimensional fighter but has potential. He needs to hook up with a good camp and get some wrestling and BJJ to round himself out

  • Mario

    Nope. Send this dude back to England.

    His ass finally got a taste of his own medicine. The guy talked alot during his stint with the UFC and now he’s paying for it. He was never that great of a fighter. He got a title shot purely based on his image. The guy had 4 wins, 3 by decision, two of which were (split) and the other a Knockout victory over Rory Markham, a guy who’s pretty much susceptible to getting KO’d. Is that REALLY impressive? Dan Hardy’s biggest wins came against b level competition. His fight with GSP exposed his lack of wrestling. Condit KO’d his ass clean. And Johnson basically did nothing but take him down at will. Is this guy fit for the elite, NO!

    Dan Hardy, good riddance!

    • jaggysnake57

      Shut up talking crap about what you clearly no nothing about GSP made koshceck look like an amateur. He does that to EVERY fighter. Conduit and hardy through a punch at the same time and his landed first it was luck plane and simple. As for rumble he said pre fight he was going to stand and bang and pussyed out. He just sat on him for 3 rounds. Personally I think he got scared by hardys stand up and took the easy way out.
      Hardy needs to re think his game I think some time out to work on his ground game and start again

  • http://www.bloodyfists.net/forums/index.php SHORT_BUS

    He’s still a draw in the UK so they’ll keep him around. They’ll put him on ice for a bit then stick him on the next UK card against a can in the opening fight on a PPV or Spike card.

  • Kuch

    He’ll be kept around because he doesn’t make much money and he’s a draw in England. Dana has already said he won’t cut him.

    The key for the UFC now is to book Hardy in fights that are strictly entertaining without trying to make him appear as a title contender (which he obviously isn’t). Brian Ebersole, Chris Lytle, Diego Sanchez, and even Thiago Alves would make for exciting opponents.

    The fact is that some guys need to be booked as contenders in order to set up future title shots while other guys just need to be booked so they can put on good fights. Hardy is the latter.

    • http://MMAWeekly.com Ken Pishna

      Great take on it. I tend to agree. I think Hardy vs. Lytle and/or Hardy vs. Diego would be very exciting fights.

    • wonggfan

      Good comment.

      On a related note, this is why I think UFC fan boys are moron retards. Getting cut from the UFC involving a lot of different reason. Of course your performance is one. The other is your salary.

      “Werdum/Sylvia/Arlovski/Hendo got cut from the UFC, therefore they are a UFC reject and has-beens.” <– Wrong!

      Those guys got cut because their performance did not match their salary. They were getting paid too much money.

      How many fights did Keith Jardine lose before finally getting cut from the UFC? A lot. Because…it is not expesive to keep him.

      How many fights did Werdum lose before getting cut? Two! One of them was a decision loss.

  • collideoverme

    I think Hardy’s biggest problems are 1. He has no killer instinct. He had Swick hurt a few times in their fight, but proceeded to try and take him down instead of finishing him. That seems to be the case with most of his fights. Unless he outright knocks them out, He doesn’t chase them down and finish.
    2. He can’t wrestle. Hardy would add years to his UFC career if he would step out of his comfort zone training in England and maybe go train with somebody like Randy Couture or Wanderlei Silva or anyone team with a good wrestling base for an entire training camp. A lot of fighters get stale after being under the same coaches watch for years. Look at somebody like Jardine. But Hardy needs to do this now before he is stuck in his ways. But does he deserve to stay, yes. He is interesting. Everyone keeps mentioning Diego Sanchez as a possible next fight. I HATE Diego Sanchez but the pre fight hype would be phenomenal! So I will agree.

  • Lodown

    How he got a Title shot without fighting Fitch,Penn,or Alves is a joke anyways. While I dont think he should go because he is a crowd draw. His matchups should be thought about more for the matchup then title contension. Oh yeah Sanchez would put dude on the map and spank him like Johnson did. Sanchez vs. Johnson thats intriguing.