A one time title contender, Hardy has fallen on a rough streak over the last two years after starting his UFC career off impressively with four consecutive wins. While admitting that his title shot may have been a bit premature, "The Outlaw," took the challenge of attempting to dethrone the promotion's 170-pound king, Georges St. Pierre, at UFC 111 in March 2010.
After fighting valiantly for five rounds, including surviving several near fight-ending submission attempts, Hardy came up short in his bid to win UFC gold.
From there, his woes only increased, as he dropped his next three bouts to Carlos Condit, Anthony Johnson and most recently, Chris Lytle. Surprisingly, the British brawler was not cut from the promotion, as it seemed that company owner, Lorenzo Fertitta, appreciated appreciated Hardy's efforts.
Hardy recently spoke to Fight Hub TV to talk about his rough two year stretch, which included the passing of his grandfather, and what he feels contributed to his bad run of luck during his losing streak.
"I had a tough run leading up to the UFC. I've had ups and down throughout my career, fights won and fights lost, robberies and being settled by promoters and stuff. So when I got to the UFC, I kind of felt like that was out of my system. I had a four fight win streak, I felt good, I gained some recognition, and then, kind of all of a sudden I was in a title shot situation. It felt a little early for me but, obviously you don't turn down an opportunity like that. I did a 14 week training camp for it and in the build up for it, I lost my grandfather and that kind of really threw me out. I never think I really got myself back on track after that. He was very important to me and to my career. If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't have carried on with mixed martial arts through my teenage years. The title fight was tough, but all I could do was give it everything I had, which I do feel like I did do. I had a short break afterwards, but since my profile had been raised, and my recognition grown,it was difficult to kind of get away from it. Everybody wanted to talk to you and wants a piece of you, and all eyes are on you because you stuck it out and went five rounds with the champion so people automatically think you are going to go on and do big things. So, I had a lot to live up to, which originally when I joined the UFC, I didn't really feel like I had to because I was always counted out anyway and my goal was to get to the UFC. The first four fights were kind of a no pressure situation. You know just go in there and just doing what I loved. From the title fight, the pressure started to build and it kind of threw my rhythm out, I lost my swagger. Fortunately, the UFC has given me another shot and I'm going to make the most of it."
With another, and quite possibly his last, chance to earn a victory inside the Octagon, "The Outlaw" looks to make the most of it, as he takes on Duane Ludwig at UFC 146 on May 26, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ludwig and Hardy, two fighters who prefer to exchange on the feet, will provide fans with what is sure to be a fireworks-filled bout. However, with his UFC career possibly on the line, will we see a cautious and tentative Hardy? Or will he return to what brought him to the dance in the first place, his aggressive stand-and-bang style?