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Dan Hardy declines Mickey Gall’s callout - ‘I don’t want to beat up a kid that I enjoy watching’

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

After submitting Sage Northcutt at UFC on FOX 22 inside Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif., (watch highlights here), Mickey Gall continued his tradition of immediately calling out his next opponent. This time around, Gall asked for a bout against former Welterweight title challenger, Dan Hardy, in a fight that would be contested at Lightweight. "The Outlaw" had a brief and comical response via social media, but during a recent stop on "The MMA Hour," Hardy respectfully declined the call-out ... while Gall was on the other line listening.

He explains:

"I almost spat my tea out, it was like four in morning and I wasn’t expecting it. I appreciate the call-out and I appreciate the respect that you’ve shown me, but I have never fought anybody with less than eight fights, not even in my first pro fight. We are at different phases in our careers. I’m not looking at knocking off a future contender that I’m possibly going to be commentating for in the future. At the same time, if I was going to fight, I want to fight a veteran. I want to fight someone that has had 20 or 30 fights and has matured in their game and is sure of their fighting style, not one that is still developing. I like to see the development of these young fighters and I don’t want to interfere with that in anyway. I’m 10 years older and we are at different phases in our careers."

After getting shut down, Gall responded by saying that he respected his decision and still considers the British brawler a legend of the sport before hanging up the phone. Hardy proceeded to say that if he does return, he wants to face a long-time veteran who he can really get motivated for.

"It just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t appeal to me and I don’t want to beat up a kid that I enjoy watching. There are a lot more older guys out there that have mature in their style and know their capabilities. There are a lot of fighters out there that I would be motivated to fight. And Mickey is a kid, I appreciate where he is in his career, four fights, and he is an exciting future prospect and I don’t want to play a part in the building of his career in any way."

And that’s that, though Hardy did say he wouldn’t be opposed to a grappling match with the young up-and-comer down the road. Of course, Hardy's still unsure that he will even return to the cage anytime soon, as he has one final test to go through in January to see if he is able to sustain the rigors of a training camp and a fight after he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome back in 2013.

But, just a few months ago, "The Outlaw" teased an MMA comeback, declaring that if and when he does return, he’ll be doing it at 155 pounds. It’s a division filled with plenty of battle-tested veterans who can clearly fit "The Outlaw" criteria of a motivating challenge.

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