After nearly ten years on the sidelines, former UFC title challenger Dan Hardy is making a return to prizefighting. As it was announced late last week, “The Outlaw” will take on fellow UFC veteran Diego Sanchez in an exhibition match on July 2nd in Manchester, England.
Despite the long layoff that’s unprecedented for a professional fighter, the 39-year-old Hardy does not doubt that he made the right decision. The biggest reason: money.
“The honest truth is this is a good middle ground financially, because what we were being offered for MMA was pitiful, and what was being offered for bare-knuckle was three times what we were being offered for exhibition boxing,” Hardy recently told MMA Fighting.
“I could either fight him in MMA, and we’d have to fight four or five times to make the same money, or I could fight him in bare-knuckle and do lots of really serious damage to him.
“You could add all my paychecks together from the UFC and I’m still making more doing this.”
As for facing the 40-year-old Sanchez, Hardy says he has no intentions of a “brutalizing” win.
“I’m fighting him in 16-ounce gloves over two-minute rounds,” he said. Most likely, I’m going to stop him with shots to the body, and he’s going to remember going down to the canvas.
“I’ve got no interest in brutalizing Diego Sanchez, but we’re going to have a hard sparring match, and I’m going to try and hurt him as much as I can without doing permanent damage, and we’re both going to walk away with a lot of money in our pockets.
“We’re not going to have to worry about the shit we got paid by the UFC. So this is a big turning point for both of us, and I think he’s just as grateful for this opportunity as I am.”
Hardy vs. Sanchez will be part of the undercard of the event headlined by former multiple-time world boxing champions Marco Antonio Barrera and Ricky Hatton. Both men haven’t stepped inside the boxing ring since 2011 and 2012, respectively.