It’s hard to blame Dan Hardy if he feels the need to step away from the UFC for a short time.
Seeing as it was only just over a year ago that Hardy was fighting for the UFC welterweight title, he sudden and quick fall from contender to near-release has been quite the ride.
Hardy (23-10) lost to Georges St-Pierre in March of last year, as he became the first British fighter to compete for UFC gold. Since that time, “The Outlaw” has experienced three more defeats, and most believed he would be cut following his submission loss to Chris Lytle last Sunday.
But, UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta stepped in just as the final bell sounded from the Hardy-Lytle war and said he would be kept on the roster.
“It’s a nice vote of confidence from the big boss,” Hardy said during the post-fight press conference. “Obviously, a lot of people are three losses and out. I’m obviously four down now, and I appreciate he’s going to give me another opportunity. I love the UFC and the fans and just being part of the organization and being amongst great fighters.
“I think if they are going to give me one more fight, then I really need to take some time and come back reinvented, if you like…there are a lot of things I can do. But right now, I need space from competing, and I need space in the gym getting beaten up by much better guys in every area. I’ll either improve or find another way. If I’ve got one more fight, then I’ll take one more fight. But maybe it won’t be for a little while.”
Hardy has always been a regular on UFC cards, fighting at least twice a year since he entered the company.
“When I got into this sport, my intention was just to do what I could do and get as far as I could,” Hardy said. “I’m proud to say I fought for the belt. It may have been a little early in my career to have done it, but it was an opportunity I took, and I gave it everything I’ve got. But after that, I don’t know. I just felt a little bit of a distance from myself and the sport for various reasons. I don’t know.
“I think I had the quickest rise and the quickest fall the UFC’s ever seen – four fights up, four fights down. But there were improvements to make. I know that. I just don’t think between fights I’ve really had the time to invest in working on those particular things. I know I’ve got it in me to learn them.”
Hardy has shown his interest in becoming a better wrestler and all-around MMA fighter, as he moved his training camp to Las Vegas to work with UFC heavyweight contender Roy Nelson.
For now, though, Hardy is focused on just getting everything worked out inside his own mind.
“I think my head’s elsewhere to be honest,” Hardy said. “I’m going to step back a little bit and take some time – just enjoy being in the gym for a little while and see where the future takes me. I’ll see where my life takes me after a couple of days off.
“I think I just need to really dedicate the time to it and either come back in a blaze of glory and make a run for the belt or do something else. I’m not sure yet.”
One upcoming card that will miss the presence of Hardy is UFC 138: Leben vs. Munoz, as it takes place from Birmingham, England. Middleweight Chris Leben and Mark Munoz are scheduled to collide in the main event.