Former UFC welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy was officially released by the promotion last week after requesting his dismissal.
‘The Outlaw’ was granted his release from a nine-year old contract with the UFC, this after his relationship with Dana White and company went sour.
Now having time to absorb what was the official end of a thirteen-year relationship with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dan Hardy opened up to MMAFighting about the split.
“(It felt) kind of weird,” Hardy said. “I’d always got this perception that my career within MMA would come to an end, and it would end with the UFC. I never intended on fighting past a UFC contract. When I was on that four-fight losing streak, and I was considering stepping away, I wasn’t thinking of going anywhere else. I was thinking about studying philosophy at university, a complete directional change. I always felt like my career, as far as professional MMA, would start and finish with the UFC.”
Dan Hardy continued:
“But then admittedly, I didn’t expect it to continue on so long after me being a fighter. I’d not really considered the idea of being an analyst or commentator. So I’m very thankful for that time and that opportunity. But it’s weird, because I’m still very much in professional MMA and do want to be. I love commentating and analyzing and training fighters. But now I’m right on the outside of the UFC for the first time in, well, forever. Before I was unknown to the UFC, and then I was under UFC contract from 2008, and now I’m just not a part of it at all, with efforts to properly exclude me in every way possible, which feels really odd as well, because I don’t feel like any of it is warranted.”
Prior to his relationship with the Ultimate Fighting Championship going South, Dan Hardy says the promotion had offered him comeback fights against fan favorites in Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller. However, ‘The Outlaw’ turned down both of those offers, as he really had no interest in punching either man in the face.
“If I’m only fighting one or two more fights, I want to want to fight the guy,” he said. “There a lot of guys on the roster, and I literally just don’t want to punch Joe Lauzon in the face. It’s as simple as that. As a fighter and a contractor, I should have some choice in that, I feel, especially at this point in my career, where you know for sure I’m not contending for a belt, and I’ve said that all the way through. I don’t want to be fighting people that are still in the mix, because I respect the mix enough to know that I’m not in it. But either let me fight someone else that’s not in the mix, or let me go.”
The UFC ultimately granted Dan Hardy his request for freedom and the 38-year-old is now fielding offers as a free agent. Based on his comments, it sounds as though ‘The Outlaw’ is interested in competing in Japan if he does return to fighting.
“If I’m daydreaming, I can see myself fighting someone like [Takanori] Gomi in RIZIN,” Hardy said. “That would be a lot of fun. I know [Shinya] Aoki’s moving around weight classes in ONE, but I don’t think I’d be able to get down to 170 to be walking around on Fight Week.”
This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM