After compiling a fourth consecutive loss by tapping out to Chris Lytle last August it seemed UFC welterweight Dan Hardy’s days of being part of the organization’s roster were at an end. Though ultimately the brash Brit received a stay of execution from boss Lorenzo Fertitta and is now scheduled to face Duane Ludwig at UFC 146, as far as “The Outlaw” is concerned fans have indeed seen the last of that particular version of “Dan Hardy” inside the Octagon.
Hardy recently elaborated on his growth in a telling interview with MMAWeekly where, in addition to revealing he’s had his love for MMA rekindled based on how little he has to lose right now, he credited his newfound friendship with Frank Mir as playing a major role in development since last taking to the cage.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Frank. My first real encounter with Frank is when he fought Ian Freeman in London, and I know he came out with a loss in that fight, but he showed so much heart in that fight. At the time Ian Freeman was a beast, he was one of the best fighters in Europe, and I trained with him. I knew how good Ian Freeman was. So my respect for Frank shot up massively after that fight,” began Hardy on his unlikely association with the former UFC heavyweight champ. “Now I’m around him all the time. He’s just such a genuine, honest guy. He really cares about helping people, and that’s something that’s very rare in this sport. There are a lot of people, a lot of pretenders, a lot of people who say things and mean something else. Frank’s as genuine as they come.”
Based on what he’s picked up from Mir both as a trainer and mentor, Hardy’s passion has returned and with it, he feels, will be his winning ways.
“I was in the gym this morning and I was hitting pads and I feel like I’m being studious again. I feel like I’m learning again,” the appreciative 29-year old explained. “I’m exploring my potential as far as a striker goes, and then sparring. I’m already excited, I can’t wait to get back in the gym and get working. That’s not something I’ve felt for a long time.”
“I’m excited to show people what I can do now. I’m excited to show that I have been working,” he continued. “All those guys that Tweet ‘Oh you’ve got to work on your ground game, you’ve got to work on your wrestling,’ these guys don’t know what I’m doing every day. This is my opportunity to prove that I’m a whole new fighter.”
Hardy-Ludwig appears destined to cap off the FX/Fuel TV portion of the preliminary card. UFC 146 is set for May 26 in Las Vegas and headlined by Alistair Overeem attempting to dethrone heavyweight title-holder Junior dos Santos with four other heavyweight match-ups scheduled for the PPV including Mir mixing it up with Cain Velasquez for top contendership.