For the last several months, Hardy has been pursuing a fight with Woodley to no avail. At one point, the two were in talks to face each other in a boxing match but in January, Woodley put the kibosh on that idea, saying he would rather fight Hardy in MMA, if he was going to fight him at all. And since then, Hardy says that there’s been radio silence about a possible fight.
“I just don’t know where he’s gone,” Hardy told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “I literally don’t know where he’s gone. He’s kind of fallen off the face of the planet. I’ve got a couple of different organizations put offers towards him, and I know they’re good offers. They’re comparable with what he was getting because I’ve spoken to the team on the other side who have already paid him his paycheck. So I don’t know. I don’t know what the hesitation is to be honest. It makes no sense to me. It’s a good chunk of money, it would be a bit of fun, he could punch me in the face. I know he hates me, I don’t really care either way to be honest, but I like it when people don’t like me and they’re trying to hit me because it makes me giggle.
“I just think it would be a lot of fun and he just doesn’t seem to want any part of it. I don’t know whether his brand’s taken too much of a hit over the last couple of years to take a loss against me as well. Maybe that makes sense.”
Hardy, a one-time UFC welterweight title challenger, has not competed since 2012, after he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a disorder that affects the heart. In 2018, Hardy was deemed medically cleared to return to fighting and has since been flirting with a return to the cage or ring. And with a fight with Woodley now looking less likely, Hardy says he’s keeping his eyes open for other opportunities that make sense, including with ONE Championship.
“We’ll see. I have a very encouraging and youthful relationship with ONE Championship,” Hardy said. “I think there are a lot of options on the table. I’m gonna be watching this [Shinya] Aoki- [Yoshihiro] Akiyama fight closely this weekend because two old guys like me are fighting, that might be a potential opponent for the future. Who knows?”
But beyond his desire to step back in the cage, Hardy is also looking to get back into the commentary booth. Hardy was released from his commentary role with the UFC in 2021 after a series of issues with the organization and while he currently works as a commentator for Cage Warriors, Hardy says he’s interested in getting back in the booth for a major promotion this year.
“I would like to get out and travel and be in front of a bigger audience, a different audience, maybe in Asia or somewhere in Europe,” Hardy said. “But we’ll see. There’s a few options on the table and MMA is exploding behind the scenes. I think within the next few months, there’s gonna be a lot of shifts and changes and organizations emerging and strengthening. Exciting times to be a part of...
“I just need to stay ready for whatever is gonna come, and if that’s a fight then it will be but I’d like to be commentating again soon on a big show.”