clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dan Hardy: Anthony Johnson Can Come in at Whatever Weight He Wants

Fans who look forward to Dan Hardy's pre-fight trash talk will have to get used to disappointment as he prepares to face Anthony Johnson at UFC Fight Night 24 in Seattle this Saturday night.

As Hardy told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, not only does he like "Rumble" too much to come up with anything bad to say about him, he also doesn't think it would do any good.

"Anthony's not going to bite," Hardy told Helwani. "He's not the kind of guy that engages in the trash talk, and also it would have just been a waste of energy. If I would have started trash talking him I'd have gotten no response and then I'd have gotten bored and I'd have wasted twenty minutes thinking of something to say. It just didn't seem like it was a worthwhile use of my energy. I've said a few things on Twitter, but that's more to help him get a few more followers because I'm storming ahead at the moment."

Of course, for many fans the big question surrounding this bout isn't what the two will say to each other beforehand, but whether Johnson – who has struggled at times to make the 170-pound limit – will make weight for the fight.

It's been almost a year and a half since Johnson's last bout, and he's known as a fighter who often packs on the pounds between training camps. But to hear Hardy tell it, he's not the least bit concerned what the scale says on Friday afternoon.

"I have no concern at all. It makes no difference to me. You can come in at whatever weight you want. I've spent the last seven weeks dedicated to fighting him, so it makes no difference to me what weight he comes in at. If he is heavy it just means he's got more chin for me to hit. It might work out better."

In fact, Hardy said, his main concern was that Johnson would be forced to forfeit a portion of his purse if he missed weight, and that would create something of an ethical quandary for "The Outlaw."

"I don't want a percentage of his purse if he misses weight, because taking a percentage of his purse and the win bonus, I might feel a bit guilty after the fight when I'm seeing him at events and stuff," Hardy said. "I at least want him to take home his purse so I know he's getting paid for the fight, because obviously I'm planning on the win bonus."

Hardy said that even if Johnson does miss weight, "there's going to be a fight on Saturday night regardless." The issue is more a cause for concern for Johnson than it is for him, Hardy added.

"Regardless of what happens [at the weigh-ins], it's not my concern what weight he comes in at – it's his concern. If he comes in overweight, he's going to lose respect from the fans, he's going to lose respect from the UFC, so it makes no difference to me. For his sake, he needs to make weight. But for my sake, he can come in at whatever weight he likes."

At the same time, Hardy is after a redemption tale of his own. After losing a unanimous decision in his title shot against UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre, Hardy was knocked out by Carlos Condit in his next bout at UFC 120 in London. Looking back, Hardy said, he brought the defeat on himself by not giving Condit his due respect.

"I think I was a little bit too confident and a little bit too cocky, which I know is surprising coming from me," he joked. "I don't know, I just kind of felt like I was back and I was ready to get a few more wins and get back towards the title. I didn't really have any respect for Carlos' punching power or striking ability. I just kind of felt like he wasn't really going to be much competition for me. I never perform my best when I don't have much respect for my opponent. It was my own fault. I was a little bit too sure of myself."

After tagging Condit with a good punch early on, Hardy said, he got careless as he chased after Condit with his left hook. That's when Condit unleashed a left hook of his own that sent Hardy crashing to the canvas for his second consecutive loss. The defeat stung, Hardy said, but it taught him a necessary lesson about the importance of approaching every bout with careful regard for his opponent's skills.

"As brash and cocky as I may seem in interviews and stuff, I am quite disciplined and I'm quite respectful to my opponents in my head, if that makes sense. And I just kind of let myself down. I took a step away from my martial arts ethics and I took a step towards the arrogant brawler that I'm kind of cast as in the fans' eyes."

That won't happen against Johnson, Hardy said. Not only does he like him as a person, he also respects what he can do in the cage too much to take him lightly. If the both bring their A-game, this is one that has the potential to be a slugfest, which is exactly the kind of fight Hardy likes to see as a fan and a fighter.

"I've always enjoyed watching Anthony Johnson fight. I get on with him well...we always see each other at events because we're both sponsored by Tapout. He's always a nice guy and he always shows up to fight and he likes to trade punches. Obviously, I'm a fan of anybody that's got that kind of mentality. I had a feeling that at some point in my career our paths were going to cross, because that's the kind of fight that I want to see as a fan. Obviously, that's the kind of fight that the UFC is wanting to give to the fans. I'm excited that it came about."