British welterweight star Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy made it no secret that he wanted his next fight to be against fellow knockout artist Chris “Lights Out” Lytle. This Sunday, Aug. 14, live from Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Hardy gets his wish, as the pair will battle in the main event of UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle.
“Dan Hardy and Chris Lytle want to stand toe-to-toe until someone falls and that’s a recipe for an outstanding fight,” UFC President Dana White recently said. “This is the fight both guys wanted, so the fans in Milwaukee are in for a treat.”
A winner of four out of his last five bouts, Chris Lytle (fighting out of Indianapolis, Ind.) has developed a reputation for giving the fans their money’s worth. Known for his heavy hands and free-swinging approach, the 36-year-old former pro boxer wanted nothing more than a knock-em-out, drag-em-out bout against Hardy.
Originally from Nottingham, England, Dan Hardy earned his stripes in the UFC thanks to his devastating power and a fearless approach inside the Octagon. Holding wins over the likes of Mike Swick, Marcus Davis and Rory Markham, the 29-year-old hit a recent skid after challenging Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight crown, suffering consecutive losses to St-Pierre, Carlos Condit and Anthony Johnson.
“If I look at the fights, breaking each one of the three fights I lost down, every one of them was forgivable in a way,” Hardy, who recently moved to Las Vegas for training, said. “I mean obviously Georges is the champ. He’s one of the best in the. And that was a fight where I just kind of went and gave it my best. You know, it was a learning experience for me and I did everything I could in the fight. And you know, I learned a lot from it and I took a lot away from it.
“The Condit fight was just my arrogance got the better of me. I just got caught there. That was my own fault.
“And the Anthony Johnson one, you know, he’s a big strong wrestler and it was just one of those days that – as I said before, sometimes you just don’t win and that was one of those. But it’s frustrated me and it’s got me back in the gym and it’s made me make a few changes. But coming out to Vegas has made life a lot easier.”
Hardy stated that moving to Las Vegas has made his training much easier.
“When I’m in the UK I do a lot of traveling around to go to different gyms and train with different guys,” Hardy stated. “Whereas over here I have everything I need right at the same gym. It’s right around the corner from my house. So I get a lot more time to rest, a lot more time to refuel and rehydrate and you know, great talent around me as well that keeps me pushing forward.
“So you know, sometimes you just need to take yourself out of your comfort zone and I think maybe I slipped into a bit of a groove with LA and England and that kind of training camp system that I found maybe it just got a little bit too comfortable for me. So coming out here, I’m in big country out here and sitting on top of all the training I need most of the days really.”
Although he somewhat miraculously saved his spot in the promotion following his third-straight defeat, it’s very likely that he needs to defeat Lytle if he wants to keep his job in the UFC.
“It’s unusual territory for me,” admitted Hardy. “I’ve never been in this situation before. I had two back to back losses a while back in my career and that was a very difficult situation to be in. But at this level that’s just the way it goes sometimes. You get in there and you give everything you’ve got every time and the outcome a lot of the time is out of your hands because it’s just such an unpredictable sport and the level that we’re fighting at is so high that anything can happen at any minute.
“You know, it does put pressure on me because obviously I love fighting with UFC. I love being a part of this sport and a part of this world and the friends are great, I have great support so I don’t want to let those friends down that want to see me fight in the UFC. So yes, there is definitely pressure but I’ve just got to kind of go with the flow. I can’t force it too much. I’ve got to do everything that I can in the gym to prepare myself for the fight and take it as it comes. If I think about it too much then it’s going to get me down and it’s going to stop me performing at my best. And right now I feel like I’m unstoppable and that’s exactly what I need to feel going into this fight. So the thought of the three losses is more of a motivational tool than anything else.”
Hardy knows that and he knows that Lytle is coming not just to fight, but to win emphatically.
“I think this is the kind of fight that the fans want to see and I’m not expecting to hear any boos at any point in the 15 minutes,” said Hardy. “It’s frustrating for me because I do this sport just I love fighting, I love the competition, I love the risk taking and the gamble in throwing punches at somebody and two of my last three fights have been snoozefests. It’s been disappointing and I just don’t like having boring fights. I mean the Carlos Condit fight was good fun for the first, what, four minutes or so and then I got clipped.
“But I want fun fights and for me, Chris Lytle is the kind of guy that I can look up to and think he’s the kind of guy I want to fight like. I want to fight like this guy. So having the opportunity to actually share a main event with him is an honor. And I know he’s going to bring it, I know he’s going to test me and I know that he’s going to come and try to win the fight and that’s exactly what I want is somebody who wants to get that paycheck and take it home.”
UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle takes place on August 14 from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and marks the first event that the UFC has hosted in Wisconsin. The main card will air on Rogers Sportsnet and Versus. As always, we will provide live coverage of the event.