It has been nearly six years since Dan Hardy set foot in the Octagon, but “The Outlaw” still feels like he’s got one good UFC fight left in him, and he’s starting to target a return date.
The Hardy began fighting in 2004 and hasn’t competed in more than five years, he is only 35 years of age. He only stopped fighting because of a medical condition that has taken this long to get cleared so that he could step back into the Octagon.
Hardy was diagnosed with a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, though he has claimed that the condition has never really caused any problems for him.
He told MMAnytt.se recently that, although he’s ready to get back in the cage for one more fight, he’s just been too busy to string together the appropriate training to be prepared for a fight. That, and he has yet to enter the UFC Athlete Testing Pool with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which he must take part in for four months before being allowed to fight under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.
“I need to do the four-month USADA testing pool and the likelihood is I’ve got one more fight, so I’m in no massive rush to get back into that,” Hardy said. “It’s a very intrusive program, which I like as a fan, as an analyst, as a member of the UFC staff, I like that, but as a fighter, I don’t need people knocking on my door at 5 o’clock in the morning to ask me to pee in a cup. I will do it for one more fight when the time is right.”
Though he’s said in the past that he’d like a fight with Diego Sanchez in his return to the Octagon, Hardy would rather see Sanchez hang up the gloves and work on building MMA outside of the cage.
“To be honest, I just want Diego to retire at this point. I think he should move into growing the sport of mixed martial arts outside of the Octagon because there comes a time when things catch up to you. Diego has had a lot of fight, a lot of wars; I’d like to see him retire,” Hardy said.
He still wants an opponent with name value if and when he returns to the Octagon. Hardy doesn’t appear to be looking to re-start his career, but he wants to end it against a prominent opponent.
“If I was gonna come back, I’d want a name,” said Hardy. “There’s a lot of guys in the lightweight division that I would look at, there’s a lot of guys in the welterweight division that I would look at. If I had my own choice, I would take a fight at 161 or 162 (pounds) and have that as a new weight class.
“There’s a need for a weight class in between those two weight classes and part of the resistance is Dana (White) doesn’t want to move the welterweight division to 175 (pounds), and I absolutely agree, but that 161, 162 weight class would be perfect for the guys moving up to welterweight or down to lightweight. For me, I would fight anybody in that weight class.”
Right now, for Hardy, it’s simply a matter of all the pieces coming together for a big fight at an event that would send him off in style. Given his druthers, it could happen later this year.
“I like Madison Square Garden. I know there’s a November card coming up and there’s still time to get on that. If the offer is right, and everything moves in that direction, if not, maybe early next year.”
(Courtesy of MMAnytt.se)