Hardy Eyeing UFC Return As Lightweight Against Diego Sanchez

“I’m looking at getting cleared the beginning of next year. 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.”

“When I was fighting at 170 [pounds] I was walking around 215. 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.”

“My natural weight has leveled out to about 178. 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.”

“He’s always kind of irritated me. 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.”

“I wouldn’t need 15 minutes. I’m sure of that.”