Dan Hardy has spoken about making a comeback before, but this time feels different.
Hardy, who is loving life as the Head of Fighter Operations for PFL Europe, as well as the promotion’s go-to fight analyst for its global events, has also been helping coach his wife Veronica, and cornered her to victory over Juliana Miller at UFC 286 in London earlier this year.
But the Englishman, who still travels with his gumshield wherever he goes, told Fighters Only that he’s been called out behind the scenes for a fight, and he is 100 percent ready to jump back into the cage and fight again.
“The truth is, I wish I was 10 years younger to be in this situation,” he admitted.
“In my mind. I was kind of thinking, ‘Well, Veronica’s back in training camps now. I’ll take a step back and we’ll focus on her training.’ But, I was out in the US a few weeks ago doing the Atlanta events and someone came up to me and they said, ‘Hey, this guy has been talking about fighting you.’
“His name had cropped up a few times before, and he didn’t want a boxing match. We tried that a few times. And now it’s looking like he wants to fight me in MMA, given the fact that his skillset probably is more suitable for an MMA fight than boxing.
“I don’t think I’ll ever retire. I don’t think it’s ever something where I’ll say, ‘You know what, I will never want to fight again.’ Fighting is a part of who I am. There’s an opportunity to punch this person in the face (and) I would love to. I would very, very much like to. Especially given the fact that he’s mentioned my name to the PFL.”
Hardy, who wouldn’t publicly divulge the name of the fighter concerned other than to say that he was a former champion MMA fighter, said that the rivalry between the pair had been simmering for a while, and that he’d relish the opportunity to face him, regardless of the ruleset.
“He wants to get on the pay-per-view card because he thinks he’s a pay-per-view star,” Hardy explained.
“We know from the numbers that he’s not a pay-per-view star. There’s evidence online to prove that he’s not a pay-per-view star, but he is a former champion.
“There’s a good opportunity here for me to shut him up once and for all. If he wants to do it in MMA and he’s too scared to do it in boxing, we will do it in MMA. And if he wants to do it on the Fury-Ngannou undercard, that’s exactly where we’ll do it. People will be tuning in to watch me kick his ass – they won’t be tuning in because he’s on the pay-per-view.”
Hardy said that his potential opponent has been making cryptic posts on social media hinting at a comeback, and that those online comments, coupled with the knowledge that he has specifically asked to fight Hardy, has the Englishman fired up and ready to return.
“He’s the one who’s posting on his Instagram and trying to shed light on it. I’m not doing anything – he doesn’t need to know what I’m doing,” he said.
“When the time comes and the date arrives, he’s gonna wish he didn’t ask the PFL for me.
“I’m never not going to be a fighter. You call my name out, and I will get out of my car and I will fight you in that moment. He has done the wrong thing by mentioning my name. He could have faded into retirement and I could have quite happily sat in the backseat and focused on analysis.
“But I’m in good shape. I’m uninjured. I’m ready to go. I would love to punch this guy in the face. And he unfortunately has mentioned my name is PFL. So it looks like we’re gonna have to get the deal done.”