Former UFC welterweight title contender Dan Hardy has been wanting to finally resume his fighting career. In May, “The Outlaw” expressed his intentions to be part of the UFC’s annual New York City card, which has been taking place in the month of November since 2016.
The 36-year-old Nottingham, England native, who has been sidelined since 2012 due to a heart condition, still has these plans in mind. At the same time, he recognizes the major changes that the sport has undergone since he last stepped inside the Octagon.
“I think with the shift in the sport, if you look at the welterweight division there’s a lot of lightweights there now,” Hardy told Luke Thomas during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “There are a lot of guys in the welterweight division that a few years ago probably would have been lightweights.”
“You stand Mike Perry or Colby Covington next to Gleison Tibau and they’re about the same size. And then you look at middleweights as well, we’ve got a former welterweight as the champion. Kelvin Gastelum’s wrecking guys that are bigger than him because he’s got the speed and the power.”
“I think there’s a shift in the sport and maybe I got caught up in the wrong time and I’m looking back now thinking I’ve not really shown my best in the UFC and that’s the thing that keeps driving me to have one more fight,” he continued. “Because I feel like I could give much more of a better example of what I’m capable of now.”
If it were up to him, Hardy would want to fight at the same division, despite weighing significantly lighter nowadays.
“I sit Octagon-side and I watch these guys all the time and I think to myself, more than anything because I watch my old fights and I see those seams in my old fights and I’m like, ‘I make so many mistakes,’” Hardy said. “I was too heavy in my UFC career. I was talking to my old strength and conditioning coach the other day about this.
“When I was fighting at welterweight, I was starting training camp at 210. I’m walking around at 180 now. And I would probably still fight at 170, I could make ‘55 if I wanted to, but at 180 I feel like I move like a flyweight,” he added. “I can kick people in the head no problem with my lead leg without thinking about it. Before, I was more interested in deadlifting 500 pounds because Anthony Johnson might be standing across from me.
“The sport has changed and unfortunately I got caught up with the trend at the time, which was be an athlete, get big and strong between training camps, boil yourself right down to the biggest you can be, and unfortunately it just didn’t suit my style.”
Hardy last fought in September 2012, where he won via unanimous decision against Amir Sadollah. After his diagnosis and forced absence, he has been part of the UFC’s commentary team covering fights in Europe and Asia alongside play-by-play broadcaster John Gooden.