Former UFC welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy, who has not fought since September of 2012, is still eyeing a return to the Octagon. And having slimmed down significantly in his time away, he feels he’d perform much better than the Dan Hardy of old.
The fighter turned color commentator discussed his potential comeback on a recent episode of The MMA Hour.
“Always. Absolutely,” Hardy said (via MMA Fighting). “I sit Octagon-side and I watch these guys all the time and I think to myself, more than anything because I watch my old fights and I see those seams in my old fights and I’m like, I make so many mistakes. I was too heavy in my UFC career. I was talking to my old strength and conditioning coach the other day about this. When I was fighting at welterweight, I was starting training camp at 210. I’m walking around at 180 now. And I would probably still fight at 170, I could make ‘55 if I wanted to, but at 180 I feel like I move like a flyweight. I can kick people in the head no problem with my lead leg without thinking about it. Before I was more interested in deadlifting 500 pounds because Anthony Johnson might be standing across from me.
“The sport has changed and unfortunately I got caught up with the trend at the time, which was be an athlete, get big and strong between training camps, boil yourself right down to the biggest you can be, and unfortunately it just didn’t suit my style,” Hardy continued.
“I think with the shift in the sport, if you look at the welterweight division there’s a lot of lightweights there now. There are a lot of guys in the welterweight division that a few years ago probably would have been lightweights. You stand Mike Perry or Colby Covington next to Gleison Tibau and they’re about the same size. And then you look at middleweights as well, we’ve got a former welterweight as the champion. Kelvin Gastelum’s wrecking guys that are bigger than him because he’s got the speed and the power.”
Needless to say, Hardy feels we still haven’t seen his best work in the cage.
“I think there’s a shift in the sport and maybe I got caught up in the wrong time and I’m looking back now thinking I’ve not really shown my best in the UFC and that’s the thing that keeps driving me to have one more fight. Because I feel like I could give much more of a better example of what I’m capable of now.”
If Dan Hardy returns to the Octagon, who do you want to see him fight?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/2/2018.