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Though UFC Job Is Safe, Dan Hardy Says He Needs Time Off to Reinvent Himself

MILWAUKEE – This isn't exactly the way Dan Hardy figured his career would go when he got a welterweight title shot against Georges St-Pierre last year.

Hardy started his UFC career with four straight wins. But since losing to St-Pierre at UFC 111, Hardy has lost three more in a row.

And though most fighters in the UFC get a pink slip after three straight losses, let alone four, Hardy will apparently keep his job with the promotion. CEO Lorenzo Fertitta took to Twitter after Hardy's loss to Chris Lytle at UFC on Versus 5 on Sunday to say the British fighter's job was safe because he comes to fight.

Hardy (23-10, 1 NC, 4-4 UFC) was submitted by Lytle late in the third round on Sunday. But it was only after 14 minutes of trading leather with his retiring counterpart. The pair won Fight of the Night for their main event; additionally, Lytle won another $65,000 for Submission of the Night.

But despite the assurance from his boss that he still has a job with the company, Hardy said he needs to rethink his career and spend some time figuring things out before taking his next step.

"I think I had the quickest rise and quickest fall the UFC has ever seen – four fights up, four fights down," Hardy said at the post-fight press conference at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. "There are improvements I need to make – I know that. I just don't think that between fights, I've really had the time to invest learning those things. I know I have it in me to learn them."

Hardy said he was appreciative the UFC intends to keep him around, but that some time off is in order if he's to get back in the win column.

"For right now, I need space from competing and need space in the gym, getting beaten up by much better guys in every area," Hardy said. "I'll either improve or find another way. If I've got one more fight, I'll take one more fight – but maybe it won't be for a while."

Hardy had promised Lytle the two would stand and trade for an exciting fight, and that they did until Hardy shot for a takedown. Hardy said he was hoping to score some late points and "even things out," but it proved to be his undoing.

"I don't know what there is to say, to be honest," Hardy said. "It was a great fight, other than the squeeze on the neck at the end. I did tap, and normally I would never tap. But I've got no shame in admitting defeat to Chris. I shot in, I thought I'd score a couple points – I learned that from my last fight. But I went straight into the guillotine, and I knew that was a strong technique of his and he caught me with it."

While it is Lytle who is retiring for sure, Hardy sounded a bit uncertain of his own future and even said if he can't come back after these four straight losses and perform at a winning level again, he may have to move on from the sport.

"I think my head's elsewhere, to be honest," Hardy said. "I'm going to take some time, enjoy being in the gym for a little bit and see where it takes me. ... I just think I need to really dedicate the time to do it and either come back in a blaze of glory and make a run for the belt, or maybe do something else. I'm not sure yet."

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