On The Spot ~ Dan Hardy
posted by J. Andrew Yount
Dan 'The Outlaw' Hardy started training at the age of six in Tae Kwon Do. He progressed through to black belt and then started training in different styles, and in 2002 he traveled to China to train with the Shaolin monks. When he returned he entered an amateur Mixed Martial Arts tournament and after realizing his weakness was his grappling skills he began to cross-train in several styles and in 2004 began to compete professionally.
Since then he has held the Cage Warriors Welterweight World Title and is the current Light-Welterweight Champion and also the UK Storm British Champion.
He has fought in America, Europe, and Japan. His last two fights have been in foe the UFC, where he has beaten two highly ranked fighters in Akihiro Gono and Rory Marham, this has moved him up to just outside the Top Ten in the world rankings.
Dan spends half of his time training in Nottingham, England with Team Rough House, alongside some other up-and-coming UK stars, and the other half of his time in Los Angeles at the Legends Gym, under highly respected Jui Jitsu instructor Eddie Bravo. And now he sits down with MMA Spot to discuss his up coming fight with Marcus Davis, the pressures of a nation, and more.
* How is your preparation going for Marcus Davis?
Itís going really well, I did my first six weeks in L.A. and now I am back in the U.K. for the last six weeks.
* Will you be training any differently for this opponent?
I always tailor my training to my opponent; I am refreshing my memory of how to fight southpaws for Davis. The last six weeks of the camp is specifically around game plan, I have a bunch of new techniques from the first half of the camp to work with. Now I concentrate on putting them into practice
* We've heard where Davis has dared you stand and trade with him, and his "take it to the ground....scared" statements in the past. Are you letting any of this in? What may be your game plan for the fight?
I havenít heard that yet actually. I just assumed he looked at my record and thought there is no chance I would try anyway. I donít think it will be a surprise to anyone that I plan on keeping it standing.
* You had a great showing against Markham in your most recent bout. Do you feel that you are starting to reach a new level as far as your skill?
Each fight is a demonstration of the progress I made since the last one. I am determined to improve between fights, that is why I structure my camp as I do. It allows me time to work on new things, keeps my game evolving and keeps the opposition guessing.
* Other than Bisping, you are arguably the most popular U.K. fighter out there, does that add any additional pressure?
It does, but that suits me. I work better when the expectations are high and the odds stacked against me. It is encouraging to know that I have the U.K. fans behind me, and I go out there and fight hard for them.
* UFC has obviously seen something valuable in you. Do you think it's more about you as a fighter, or about reaching out into the U.K. for more stars?
I think itís a little bit of both. I feel I am in the UFC, regardless of my nationality as I have won the right fights at the right time. Iím sure it doesnít hurt to have another value to the UFC though. The U.K. fighters are proving that we are catching up with the rest of the world. That was one of my motivations to keep fighting. I had my heart set on a UFC career and I am confident that I would have gotten there at some point. It is an added bonus that the UFC is moving into Europe at the same time I get my shot.
* Team Rough House has some serious characters there, besides you, who are some of the best guys there?
The two main guys that are going to break through soon are Andre Winner and Jim Wallhead. Andre is on the current TUF show, so he is getting his chance now to show his skills. Jimmy... well, we are saving him for the right moment. When we unleash him on the world, you will all be sorry!
* Who from your camp do you see as the next big star to come at us?
I think Andre will shine on this season of TUF and people will sit up and take note.
* Are U.K. fighters starting to catch up with Americans?
Definitely! But at the same time, I feel the UK is adapting the sport too. I think there is a definite 'British style' of fighting that is developing as guys are getting further in the sport. What we lack in technique, we make up for in violence.
* What would you consider your career highlight to this point?
My last fight, without a doubt. Fighting at the O2 Arena in London, in front of thousands of British fans and scoring a highlight reel KO. That was electric.
* Any crazy stories from traveling / fighting / training?
Hundreds! I wouldnít even know where to start. Paul Daley and I had some crazy nights in London when he was fighting on Cage Rage. Usually the night before the fight too.
* When you beat Davis, where do you think you want to go from there? Who would be some good match ups for you?
I donít know, I find it real hard to look past my next opponent. The UFC welterweight division is stacked with good fighters, and great potential match-ups. It all depends on who the UFC want me to fight. I have faith that they will match me up with an opponent that will be exciting for me and the fans.
* How did you get started in MMA?
It was just a natural progression through different forms of martial arts. I was continually looking for the next toughest thing. After Muay Thai, the only one left was MMA and that seemed pretty hardcore so I gave it a shot. I think I have reached the top of the tree now though; the next stage would have to be Russian Roulette or something!
* Where did "the Outlaw" come from?
Originally, it was because I had a disagreement with my coach. He had told all of my usual training partners not to train with me. So I signed up to the cagewarriors.com forum to look for new guys to work with. I felt like I had been 'Outlawed' so that was the username I chose. It was never meant to be my nickname but it kind of suited me and it stuck.
* What areas are you focused on improving the most as you improve as a fighter?
I am working on all areas of my game, with maybe a little more emphasis on Jiu Jitsu. I donít want to neglect my kickboxing because it has got me to where I am today. But I also have to keep evolving as a fighter and you wonít get very far in MMA if you arenít well rounded.
* What do you do when you aren't fighting or training? Do you have any hobbies?
I am hooked on XBox games at the moment. I have one in the UK for training camps and one in LA, for when I am at home relaxing. I also watch other sports, I like ice hockey and football (American), and I never go anywhere without my iPod. Music has always been really important to me, I have a huge selection... music for any mood!