Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
After three losses in a row inside the Octagon, Dan Hardy knows his UFC career could be on the ropes in Milwaukee as he headlines the UFC on Versus 5 show against fellow welterweight banger Chris Lytle.
The former title challenger knew he needed to make a drastic change if he wanted to keep his job, so he moved out to Las Vegas and has been training diligently in preparation for a fight that he believes is a must-win.
With the importance of his upcoming bout burning in the back of his mind, Hardy responded to media inquiries today during the UFC on Versus 5 conference call.
His honesty with his current situation was rather telling.
Hardy was first asked about what his training has been like, considering he's made such a big change, spending more than half his time away from his Rough House home in the U.K. It appears that the change has been good, at least thus far.
"It's been really good to be honest. I know it's a bit cliche but it's been the best training camp so far. I did two weeks here, then went back to England for four weeks at Rough House to work on sparring. I came back here for the last four weeks and I've been working every day with Roy Nelson and I've brought my striking coach out with me. We've been training and Roy's got a few guys that I work with, great wrestlers, great jiu-jitsu guys. I've been traveling around, training at a few different gyms sparring. I've been working with Evan Dunham and Gilbert Yvel and it's been good. There's a lot of talent in Vegas and it gives me the opportunity to train with a lot of different guys and get a lot of different looks. I just feel ready. I feel this is a turning point in my career. I've got to get things back on track and I'm in the right place to do it."
Hardy also talked about becoming a more complete fighter, adding all aspects of mixed martial arts to his game instead of relying on his striking, something that has failed him for three fights in a row now.
"That's a continuous process and that's something I've got to work on for the rest of my career. I've already taken those steps and I feel like I've made a lot of improvements in the past four weeks. I'm seeing improvements in myself and I'm hearing from people that there have been a lot of improvements. I'm really comfortable wherever the fight goes. Obviously everyone knows what I like to do and everyone knows what Chris [Lytle] likes to do as well. I don't think there's any surprises there. Regardless of where the fight goes, I'm ready for it and I want the opportunity to show people what I can do."
"The Outlaw" also got a little retrospective, looking back on his last three losses. He wasn't exactly honest with himself about them, except for the Condit loss, but at least admitted that he may have gotten a little too comfortable in his training to stay competitive in the division.
"If I look at the fights, if I break each of the three fights. Every one of them was forgivable in a way. GSP is the champ. He's one of the best in the world and that was a fight where I just went in and gave it my best. It was a learning experience for me and I did everything I could in the fight. I learned a lot from it and I took a lot away from it. The Condit fight was just my arrogance got the better of me and I just got caught there and it was my own fault. The Anthony Johnson one, he's a big, strong wrestler and it was just one of those days. I've said it before, it was one of those times you just don't win and that was one of those. It frustrated me and it got me back in the gym and it made me make a few changes. Coming out to Vegas has made life a lot easier. When I'm in the UK I do a lot of traveling around to different gyms, train with different guys whereas over here, I have everything I need right is right at the same gym just around the corner from my house so I get a lot more time to rest, more time to refuel and rehydrate. There's great talent around me as well that are gonna keep me pushing forward. Sometimes you just need to take yourself out of your comfort zone and I think maybe I slipped into a bit of a groove in England and that kind of system I found just made it a bit too comfortable for me. Coming out here with Big Country has really changed that."
Hardy was given a chance that not many fighters get, even former title contenders. Not many men outside of Tyson Griffin, Joe Stevenson and Keith Jardine were given another opportunity to continue fighting for the UFC after three consecutive losses. He talked about the pressure he's been under in his current predicament.
"It's unusual territory for me, I've never been in this situation before. I had two back-to-back losses a while back in my career and that was a very difficult situation to be in. At this level, that's just the way it goes sometimes. You get in there and give everything you've got and sometimes the outcome is out of your hands. It's such an unpredictable sport and the level that you're fighting at is so high that anything can happen at any minute. It does put pressure on me because I love fighting for the UFC and I love being a part of this sport, a part of this world. The fans are great and great support so I don't want to let those fans down that want to see me fighting in the UFC. There's definitely pressure but I've just got to go with the flow. I can't force too much and I've got to do everything I can in the gym to prepare myself for the fight and take it as it comes. If I think about it too much, then it's gonna get me down and it's gonna stop me from performing at my best. Right now I feel like I'm unstoppable and that's exactly how I need to feel going into this fight. The thought of the three losses is more of a motivational tool more than anything else."
Lastly, the Nottingham native broke down his upcoming fight with Chris "Lights Out" Lytle and he explained why this is exactly the type of fight that the fans want to see.
"I think this is the kind of fight that the fans want to see. I'm not expecting to hear any boos at any point in the fifteen minutes. It's frustrating for me because I do this sport because I love it. I love fighting, I love the competition. I love the risk taking and the gambling and throwing punches at somebody. Two of my last three fights have been snoozefests and that's been disappointing. I felt like I was in boring fights. The Carlos Condit fight was a good one for the first four minutes or so and then I got clipped. I want to have fun fights and for me, Chris Lytle is a guy I can look up to. He's the kind of guy I wanna fight and I aspire to fight like so having the opportunity to actually share the Octagon with him is an honor. I know he's gonna bring it. I know he's gonna test me and I know that he's gonna try and win the fight and that's exactly what I want, somebody that wants to get that paycheck and take it home."
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Will the change in location for his fight camp push Hardy back over the top? Or will he be looking for a new job come August 15?