British UFC veteran Dan Hardy has been on quite the adventure since taking an indefinite leave from MMA competition three years ago, becoming the face of UFC commentary and analysis in the UK and Europe, and even taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race last year.
But despite finding considerable success in the MMA world outside the cage, it seems Hardy still harbors a desire to get back in there and test himself. Not for the sake of rankings, however.
“It’s been an interesting three years,” Hardy told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ve grown a lot. I’ve matured a lot. I have a different perspective on the sport and what I would want out of it… I’m not interested in the belt or rankings anymore.”
With 145lb champ Conor McGregor stepping up to 170lb for the second time in his UFC career to rematch Nate Diaz at UFC 200, it seems as though the sport may be moving in a direction where title belts and rankings come second to big-money fights and pay-per-view sales. Many feel this attitude could compromise the integrity of the sport, but not Hardy.
“I like the way the sport is moving into this area where we’re having a lot of superfights. I like superfights. If there are two guys I want to see fight, I’m not bothered by what weight class or what the rankings are. If I want to see them fight, that’s the fight that should be made. If there’s an overwhelming support for a matchup – I mean, when the McGregor vs. Diaz fight was made, who didn’t want to see that? There were so many people complaining about the weight class and this and that, but it was a fight we wanted to see, and I’d like to at least have the option to step in and just have those single marquee fights every now and then.”
Hardy last fought in MMA at UFC on Fuel TV 5 in September 2012, beating Amir Sadollah via unanimous decision. He has since been unable to compete after being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome – a type of heart condition. The Brit will be required to pass medical tests before he is able to fight again.