Dan Hardy hasn't seen the inside of a mixed martial arts (MMA) cage in more than one year.
Shortly after defeating Amir Sadollah in Sept. 2012 at UFC on Fuel TV 5, he was scheduled to take on Matt Brown on at UFC on Fox 7 on April 20, 2013. However, Hardy was forced out of the bout after he was diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome, a heart defect in which there's an abnormal extra electrical pathway of the ticker that could lead to episodes of a rapid rate.
Worst case scenario, the condition could lead to complications such as heart failure and low blood pressure. And fighting, naturally, could increase the risk of those things happening.
While his MMA career takes a back seat to his health, "The Outlaw" hasn't been sitting on the couch. On the contrary, Hardy tells Las Vegas Weekly he's been very active, looking for new ways to stimulate his body with various types of exercises.
And it's through his experimentation that's he discovered that his body is in the best shape of his life. Ironic, considering he can't put it to good use inside the Octagon.
"I'm so much more physically able now than I was before, which is crazy because now I'm potentially moving toward the end of my career, and I've really just figured out how my body works properly," he said. "If and when I get cleared to fight again, my whole game is going to be completely different because I feel so much better physically."
Hardy could elect for an "ablation" procedure, which feeds wires (via a catheter) into his heart, cauterizing tissue and blocking electrical charges that pass through it.
However, even though the procedure would likely cure him and get him back into fighting mode, "The Outlaw" isn't too thrilled with it and will not pursue the surgery.
"It's the easiest thing for everybody apart from me," declares the Brit. "My issue is that I've never had any kind of symptoms or problems, so it's not something I feel needs fixing. That's just not me. It's a done deal. But, if I can prove to UFC and to everybody else that there's no reason I can't fight, then I don't see why they would stop me."
Should Hardy never get clearance to fight inside the Octagon again, he has a back up plan that will take him to Thailand in pursuit of a career in boxing,
"Worst-case scenario, if I don't get cleared to fight, I'll go to Thailand and do Thai boxing," he said. "I will fight again. My heart has been in my body and survived so many extreme training sessions and situations that it won't fail me. I don't feel like it would. But, if you start poking at it ..."
As confident as Hardy is that he can still compete without having to go under the knife, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) officials are hesitant to let him back in the cage until he's cured 100 percent.
While I'm sure Hardy appreciates the concern and backing of Zuffa, "The Outlaw" is getting the itch for fighting and if push comes to shove, he has no issues heading overseas to get it scratched.