In his two years in the UFC, Dan Hardy
has developed a reputation for enjoying the standup battle. He's knocked out Rory Markham, dropped Marcus Davis, and the threat of his left hook was enough to make Georges St. Pierre design a game plan that put Hardy on his back nine times for a total of nearly 21 minutes of their 25-minute title fight at UFC 111.
Since then, Hardy's had over five months to address his striking heavy game, and now, he's saying that while he'll always love a good brawl, he's a little more layered than he once was, and that his UFC 120
opponent Carlos Condit
may well be the victim of a newfound dimension.
"If it's up to me, I'd stand on the Bud Light logo right in the middle of the octagon and throw punches until he falls over," Hardy said on a Thursday conference call. "I'm confident with those odds. I'm confident with my power and with my chin. If that's the way the fight goes, then I'm all for it, but I've been working on my wrestling and my jiu-jitsu, so don't be surprised if I take him down and put him to sleep."
Hardy (23-7) will be fighting in front of a raucous partisan crowd in London, just a two-hour drive from where he grew up in Nottingham.
He says that the changes in his approach came from re-watching his performance against St. Pierre, in which he was thoroughly dominated on the mat in a 50-45, 50-44, 50-43 unanimous decision.
"I think to be honest watching the fight, it's pretty obvious my wresting was not up to scratch," he said. "And my offensive jiu-jitsu wasn't there. I couldn't threaten him on the ground at all, and I could hardly get back to my feet. They're the things I've been working mainly on. Just working solid on my jiu-jitsu, working with my wrestling coaches and getting good input on that."
Condit, meanwhile, is hoping to extend his winning streak to three straight. At UFC 115, he trailed Rory MacDonald after two rounds, only to rally back in the third and TKO MacDonald with just seven seconds left in the fight in one of the best comebacks of the year.
Despite having won 10 of his last 11, Condit asked for Hardy, aware that a win over the high-profile Brit could raise his stock and propel him towards a title opportunity.
"He's the kind of fighter I want to fight," said Condit (25-5). He puts on exciting fights, he comes to finish guys. And I want to be in exciting fights, I want to give fans a show."
According to Hardy, it's not going to be a show with a happy ending for Condit. Having re-balanced his training in hopes of bringing the other pieces of his game up to par with his striking, Hardy has a specific finish in mind.
"It's going to be a constant process I'll be doing for the rest of my career but I certainly feel that I'm ready for 120 and I'm looking forward to taking him down and choking him out," he said.