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Dan Hardy: Georges St-Pierre should have handed Johny Hendricks the belt after UFC 167

Dan Hardy, sill on mixed martial arts (MMA) hiatus because of a heart condition, weighs in on one of his former foes, recently retired Georges St-Pierre, as well as the current Welterweight championship condition.

Matt Roberts

UFC 111 in March 2010 marked the beginning of a four-fight Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) losing streak for former No. 1-ranked Welterweight contender, Dan Hardy.

"The Outlaw" suffered a unanimous decision loss to then-division champion, Georges St. Pierre, who many mixed martial arts (MMA) fans criticized because "Rush" was unable to finish the five-round fight early.

Risk averse!

The same talk applies to St-Pierre's most recent outing -- and potential farewell fight -- against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, which left the 31-year-old Hardy less than impressed with how the bout, result and "Rush's" post-fight antics left the state of the 170-pound division.

Among other items.

Hardy (via Fight Now TV) shares his thoughts on the situation, which is seemingly now spinning out of control:

"I think it left the whole division and the whole situation kind of awkward. A lot of people weren't happy with the decision. A lot of people don't feel GSP's in a situation right now where he can just step away from the sport because there are a lot of questions left unanswered."

What could "Rush" have done different?

"The only thing I'm uncomfortable with is the way it was finished, the way it came to an end. I watched the press conference and, for me, the best thing to do would have been for Georges to walk out, hand Johny Hendricks the belt and say, 'I'm done for a while, when I want the belt back I'll come and get it.' Just left it at that. I just feel like it would have been the right thing to do for the sport, for his brand, to [say], 'There you go. I don't feel like I earned the belt tonight. I'll come back and get it when I do.' Then if he does come out of retirement and get the belt, imagine how people would view him. Best champion of all time."

Hardy also thinks "Big Rigg" could have helped his cause, too, citing comments Hendricks' made at the post-fight press conference about not putting everything he had behind his punches because his hands are brittle.

"[Hendricks] said after the fight that he was only throwing with 70 percent of his power. I understand it, it was a smart, tactical thing to do, but once you pass the first two or three rounds, and he's still there, you've got to go get the belt. You've got to go take it.

Now, as the division moves forward without St-Pierre, Hardy understands the former champion's decision to step away, hoping that in the long run it leads to a better person ... and fighter. After all, Hardy is no stranger to "time away" thanks to his mysterious heart ailment that has kept him feeling "fine" but out of competition for more than one year.

"If he's taking time to step away from the sport, he needs it. There's a reason for it. We don't really want to see Georges St-Pierre compete at anything other than 100 percent. He's not the champion if he's not 100 percent. We need to see him at his best. If there's something outside the sport that's affecting him we're not going to see his best in the sport. If he says it's time to step away then he should."

Having said all of that, even though St-Pierre technically "went out on top" -- perhaps because Hendricks failed to go for the kill -- Hardy still feels that the judges got it wrong that fateful night.

"I think [St-Pierre] lost the fight. I think he retained his belt, but I think he lost the fight."

Retained? Well, even that's up for debate, too.

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