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Dan Hardy On His Future, Diego Sanchez, Conor McGregor-Dustin Poirier

Dan Hardy was a recent guest on Submission Radio, and “The Outlaw” had plenty to say on a number of subjects including his future, Diego Sanchez and the upcoming third meeting between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

On trying to get his UFC release but not having any success

“The only thing that’s happened is I’ve asked two different people for my release from the UFC. Because, obviously with one contract coming to an end, it makes sense for me to leave with my fight contract as well. So, I’m currently trying to get my release from the UFC so I can start looking at other places. I’ve got a few ideas and a few options that I’d like to consider, but getting a hold of someone [has been hard]. I might have to recruit Joshua Fabia to get someone’s attention at some point.”

“I think it even if it got to a stage where I could get the UFC to give me an opponent, it’s not gonna be the ones I want. They’re not matching veterans with veterans anymore, they’re matching veterans with the new guys coming up so that they can build the next name. And I’m not interested in fighting someone that nobody knows. Like, Cowboy, Matt Brown. They would never in a million years give me the Nick Diaz fight. They’ll use Nick Diaz to build somebody else up. And I just don’t want to be in that situation. Plus, my fight contract is what, eight years old? So, you can imagine the numbers on it. It’s rather embarrassing.”

On where Dan might fight

“Nowhere in particular. I mean, I’d love to fight in Japan. I’ve always been a big fan of Japan. You know, RIZIN. ONE championship are doing amazing things. I actually think that would be a great place for Diego [Sanchez] to go. They’ve got Shinya Aoki floating around there that’s what, got 47 wins on his record? I’d like to see Diego against Aoki. That’d be an interesting one. But as soon as that UFC door closed, so many other doors opened. And different options, not even just MMA. I’ve got other things that I would consider as well. The world’s much bigger than I actually realized, I think. So, now I’ve started looking at these other organizations and different weight classes as well. I mean, I could jump into some of these at middleweight and light heavyweight and fancy my chances. We’ll see what happens.”

Diego Sanchez speaking to him via DM’s

“I don’t know what’s going on with Diego. I’ve actually been chatting back and forth with him a little bit on private messenger – or rather, I assume it’s him. I don’t actually know whether it is or not. But I’ve not got any interest in fighting Diego. I don’t really think anybody should have a great deal of interest in fighting Diego. I think him and Cowboy would have been the ideal fight for both of them to hang their gloves up, and it’s a shame that didn’t happen. But, I don’t know… I think Diego’s in such a stark place in his life right now, that any further punches from someone like me is only going to exasperate the situation. I think he needs to get his head right first.”

“Well, he started tagging me in his stories. I’m not sort of sure what the thought processes behind that was. But I’ve just been asking him, we’ve just been kind of going back and forth, I’ve asked him a couple of questions about things that I’ve seen him doing. Obviously, this hanging upside down, getting slapped around the head thing’s been doing it’s rounds on the internet, and I’ve asked him what that’s about. And his whole thing is that everything’s been taken out of context and a narrative’s being pushed. So, I tried to explain to him that by filming these things, you’re only supporting that narrative anyway, and maybe the rest of the MMA world is actually seeing something that’s correct, instead of them being told a story. He just, he seemed a little bit lost to me. And I think it’s a codependent relationship. I think they’re both a bit lost, and I think they’re leaning heavily on one another and they feel like the worlds against them now. And I think paranoia is circling, and I don’t think it’s good for either one of them. And the MMA world being on top of them is not helping.”

Why McGregor, Poirier or Gaethje as champion right now would devalue the belt

“Who’s gonna compare to Khabib? That’s the problem that we’ve gotten. That’s the danger with, you know, from the UFC’s perspective as a promotion, if they now put Justin Gaethje in there and he wins the belt, it’s just not worth the same because everyone’s already seen him getting beat by Khabib. That’s the problem with the champion retiring undefeated or retiring with the belt around his waist. And the UFC hate it. Because that immediately devalues the belt. Same thing when GSP came back and grabbed the middleweight belt. You know, picked it up, dropped it again, and now the belt is just devalued. It would devalue the belt if Justin Gaethje got it right now, which is why they’re trying to steer him away from it. But he’s more than deserving, just like all these other guys.”

If Dustin winning the belt devalues the belt due to him losing to Khabib

“This is why neither of these guys are getting an opportunity. Because the only way that this belt cannot be immediately devalued, is by having someone win it that’s not lost to Khabib. Which is why we’ve got Oliviera against Chandler. Neither one of those guys have lost to Khabib, so the fans don’t have that picture in their mind of the new lightweight champion getting strangled and dominated by the former retired great. Although, if you put that belt over McGregor’s shoulder or Poirier’s waist or Gatheje’s waist at this point, everyone sees the same thing. They just see Khabib dominating them and that belt’s not worth as much.”

Why Hardy leans towards Conor McGregor in the Poirier trilogy

“I think it’s a very competitive fight. And the only reason that I’d lean slightly in McGregor’s direction, is because we’ve seen him regroup and change. The changes, the shifts, the regrouping in Poirier’s career has always been down to will and determination and ‘I’m just gonna double my work rate and be twice as conditioned and be more aggressive’. Whereas McGregor, he’s found technical solutions to problems. So, I can see him [adapting]. And you know that’s burning in the back of his mind. He can be sitting in his fancy shorts on his sun bed, drinking Proper 12 all he likes, but every morning he wakes up and looks at himself in the mirror, he remembers that moment where he’s lying up against the fence on the floor with Poirier walking away. That’s the kind of thing that eats away at him. And I can only imagine McGregor’s got a thousand and one different ways to deal with Poirier. I still think it’s very, very competitive, but I’m leaning slightly towards McGregor, just based on how he approaches the game.”

Picking Beneil Dariush to beat Tony Ferguson

“Tony’s a great wrestler with Jiu Jitsu finishes. What we saw when he faced Oliveira, is that he doesn’t have a Jiu Jitsu foundation.”

“I think Beneil Dariush does the same thing to Tony Ferguson. I think the advantage is the wrestling in Tony Ferugson’s game, but when it comes to straight Jiu Jitsu, he just couldn’t contend with Charles Oliveira. He didn’t have Jiu Jitsu answers to Jiu Jitsu problems, and he couldn’t wrestle his way out because was already stuck on his back. I think he might find himself in the same situation with Beneil Dariush. Sometimes we mistake good Jiu Jitsu players for guys that are good wrestlers that have got submissions to bolt on the end of them. And it’s not quite the same thing.”

Why Tony Ferguson isn’t the same anymore, and why him training with Freddie Roach isn’t what it seems

“Something that’s apparent with these guys, and Tony Ferguson is a perfect example of this and Diego Sanchez is another excellent example of this. And this is why, just as an alternative example, this is why someone like Urijah Faber always stands out in my mind. Because Urjiah was already putting things in place when he retired. He already had a plan, he knew what he was gonna do. He was gonna open a gym, he’s gonna do this, he’s got several businesses going. Tony Ferguson, Diego Sanchez, they’re all in. That’s why we love them, cause they’re lunatics, they’re all in. But there comes a point when you start, the wheels on your machine start to grind a bit and you start to slow down, and you’ve not got to that belt. And Tony’s still carrying around that old belt. You can tell how much it means to him to have been almost a UFC champion. It burns him so much. And now there’s this panic setting in that now he’s got two losses in a row and he’s slipping further away from the title. That pressure does weigh on his mind. Same as Diego, I don’t think he’s in a space psychologically where he can deal with that very well. I think him going to train with Freddie Roach is a great idea, but I’ve trained with Freddie myself. I don’t know how much one on one attention he’s actually getting. Freddie’s not spending hours and hours holding pads with him. Like, that may look like it on the countdown show, but I used to live around the corner from Wild Card. Trust me. I used to walk there most days. You don’t get that much attention from Freddie, no matter what money you’ve got in your pocket. He picks and chooses who he works with, and there’s very limited benefit for him working with Tony Ferguson. So, I just don’t know what we’re gonna see new from Tony. I see him hitting the bag and he’s doing all kinds of weird elbows and Wing Chun stuff. And it’s not really good Wing Chun. And this is where I start to worry about him, because he’s facing someone in Beneil Dariush who’s training at a good gym, he’s always turning corners technically, he’s just as lethal and unorthodox as Tony. He just doesn’t have the same kind of risk. Which means he’s not nearly as exciting for the fans, and in their mind he doesn’t get crazy and bloodied up. But look at that Drakkar Klose finish. I mean, Joe Rogan was out of his seat. I think people are massively underestimating Beneil Dariush based on who they think Tony Ferguson is now, and I don’t think he’s that person anymore.”

“I don’t mean to keep drawing similarities between him and Diego, but there are similarities in their game. They’re both great grapplers, wrestling base with good Jiu Jitsu. Their striking is a bit unorthodox and a bit herky jerky, but it works for them and they make it work because they’re tenacious. Tony Ferguson’s got loads of good skills in his arsenal, but you can’t fall into that same trap of being the just bleed guy. That’s what happened with Diego. It was the crowd chanting his name and the expectation that he was gonna be a whirling mess of elbows and it was gonna be a bloodbath. And if Tony bought into that, then he’s gonna lose a bit of his game. Because there are times that he needs to fall back on a basic gameplan.”


“Tony Ferguson has got all the potential to be a great fighter, and has had great fights in the past. He’s still got the potential to be a champion, maybe I should say. He needs to be a little bit more strategic about the way he’s going about things though and apply the skills that he’s got in the correct way, instead of just trying to be this crazy El Cucuy. People too often try and live up to the expectations of their nicknames and the fans’ perception. And they do themselves a disservice. That’s what’s unusually satisfying about Kamaru Usman, is that he doesn’t care what we think of him. He’ll give you 30 percent and you’ll like it. That’s what he said after the Emil Meek fight. He goes in there to win. And I think tony Ferguson needs an extra five or ten percent of that. Especially at this stage in his career where he’s not quite as invincible as he was when he was younger.”

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