Sidelined since being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome in 2012, UFC welterweight turned commentator Dan Hardy plans to return to fighting in 2015.
"I'm looking at getting cleared the beginning of next year," Hardy told MMAnytt. "I've spoken to a few doctors and it's looking positive. I don't see a reason why I wouldn't get cleared to fight, so now, really, it's just about getting back into training camp. Getting back into the groove of preparing for a fight."
Training every day, Hardy says his new physique more closely resembles the one he enjoyed prior to joining the UFC in 2008.
"When I was fighting at 170 [pounds] I was walking around 215," said Hardy. "Although I was a big, strong athlete in the weight class I was never as quick and agile as I used to be. That was my fighting style. I'm not a power puncher. My skill is speed, being a technician and just being better than my opponent. I feel like when I joined the UFC I got away from that."
Frustrated by the two-year layoff due to the rare heart disorder, Hardy wants two to three more fights before shifting his focus entirely to commentating.
"My natural weight has leveled out to about 178," said Hardy. "Even if I go back to fight at welterweight I wouldn't be a great deal bigger than I am now. I think lightweight would be a great challenge for me. I think there are a lot of good fighters at that weight class, a lot of good kick boxers so I could have some good fights."
One man Hardy has already set his sights on is Diego Sanchez. Scoring just a pair of controversial split decision wins over Takanori Gomi and Ross Pearson, Sanchez claims a shaky 2-3 record dating back to 2012.
"He's always kind of irritated me," Hardy said of Sanchez. "I like Diego, I respect him and I forgive him for his strangeness, but in my opinion he's kind of the problem with mixed martial arts. He started off as a really good fighter and he's just slowly gotten worse throughout his career. That is the opposite to how martial artists should develop.
"He's discarded technique, he's discarded logic and intelligence and he's gone with hard-headedness and blocking punches with his face. That is not a good example for future mixed martial artists. I just feel like, particularly with my fighting style and how it's developing the last couple of years, I think that I could really expose him and hopefully teach him something about the martial arts and where he's gone wrong."
If the booking should ever happen, Hardy isn't worried about ending up on the business end of another infamous Sanchez decision.
"I wouldn't need 15 minutes. I'm sure of that."
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Captain DC. With Jon Fitch leaving San Jose for Las Vegas, Daniel Cormier was voted the new team captain at American Kickboxing Academy.
'Google me, b***h.' Cody Gibson explains his now infamous scuffle with a beer'd up bro last weekend in Las Vegas.
Impressive. Awaiting the results on an MRI, Rick Story believes he broke his left ankle in the second round of his five-round bout with Gunnar Nelson.
‘It's who he is.' Tristar trainer Firas Zahabi believes Georges St-Pierre will ultimately return to the UFC.
Another for Jacare. After undergoing a five-hour surgery on his left elbow in March, Ronaldo Souza went under the knife again Tuesday to combat numbness due to ulnar neuropathy.
Fight Motion: UFC Fight Night - MacDonald vs. Saffiedine.
UFC Rankings Report: Week of 10/06/14.
Viewer submissions from Inside MMA.
Highlights from KSW 28.
Some sort of insane double KO from a two on one match in Russia.
15 minutes of pure spinning s**t.
Ed Soares: "Anderson feels great, he's training great, but we'll only really know on Feb 1st"
Wanderlei Silva EXCLUSIVE: Retirement, Lifetime Ban, NSAC, his Legacy, Hall of Fame, improving MMA
Knuckle Up #397: UFC x TWO, Story, Nelson, Rory, Cung Le + Much More
Get well soon.
So this happened in the second round. pic.twitter.com/7z8rycajfR— Rick (@Rick_Story) October 8, 2014
1st round head clash. #modelingcareergone http://t.co/1ZBvoiv6nv pic.twitter.com/1FTG4JYyBs— Gunnar Nelson (@GunniNelson) October 7, 2014
Rehab is going great. Just got cleared to start doing more stuff in training. Not 100% yet but not too far off.— Carlos Condit (@CarlosCondit) October 7, 2014
Wandy on fighter pay.
This is the real Life of the Fighters,This girl ask money on internet to bring the corner to Fight In... http://t.co/3OT92Mc62W— Wanderlei Silva (@wandfc) October 8, 2014
Could own it in five.
4 fights in and I own the game.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 8, 2014
Movin' on down.
125 ready or not here I come time to be great #RDCB ufc I'm ready put me on lol http://t.co/pwyNbGAjRi— Chris beal (@RealDealCbeal) October 8, 2014
170 here I come.....lol #thisisgointobetough http://t.co/F7j6QZisun— Lorenz Larkin (@da_MONSOON) October 7, 2014
The winner of @JoeLauzon & @DiegoSanchezUFC 3rd January would be great.— STORMIN NORMAN PARKE (@norman_parke) October 6, 2014
@JoeLauzon @DiegoSanchezUFC don't take it personal joe, I just stated that it would be great to fight the winner of you 2 when I get back.— STORMIN NORMAN PARKE (@norman_parke) October 6, 2014
UFC fighter Urijah Faber has joined the Sacramento Republic FC ownership group: http://t.co/9Moz98uOws pic.twitter.com/I1zetq2Swm— SI Wire (@SI_Wire) October 6, 2014
Sign the bout agreement couldn't be happier to be fighting in the biggest @ufc card of 2015 facing another former champion @danawhiteufc @liborioatt @americantopteam #ufc #mma #world
Hip thrusts for the lady http://t.co/i7viQDfhOq pic.twitter.com/BcEKDZSdKm— Ryan Bader (@ryanbader) October 7, 2014
Announced yesterday (Oct. 7 2014)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Michael Shulski.
Poll: Are Athletic Commissions Punishing Fighters Too Much?
Wanderlei Silva was recently banned from mma competition in Nevada and fined $70,000. All for running out on a drug screening. Why would the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) levy such a harsh punishment? It may be that they will not tolerate fighters who run from drug tests. Wanderlei's lawyer, Ross Goodman, argued
"It is abundantly clear that the NSAC lacks jurisdiction to take disciplinary action over Mr. Silva, a non-licensee, for not submitting to testing that the NSAC had no authority to order,"
Did the athletic commission impose this draconian sanction to 'prove' it has authority over fighters who aren't officially scheduled to fight? Silva wasn't even licensed. Chael Sonnen used this very same defense when he was popped for banned substances a second time. He reasoned that, because he wasn't scheduled to fight, the NSAC had no authority to test him. Do these two precedents give the NSAC authority to test fighters before they are OFFICIALLY scheduled to compete?
Check out the rest of the post here.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.