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Dan Hardy looking to get out of UFC fight contract and compete in Japan

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UFC Fight Night Weigh-in Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

For years, Dan Hardy has been one of the key faces and voices of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a favorite color commentator and analyst. All that suddenly changed in March following an argument with another UFC employee ... suddenly Hardy was fired, and now he’s out of UFC’s orbit back amongst the larger mixed martial arts (MMA) scene. And that’s kinda exciting for us, especially if it means we might see “The Outlaw” competing again.

Hardy’s fight career basically ended in 2012 after he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a heart condition that can sometimes lead to uncontrollable rapid heartbeat. That was enough to keep US commissions from allowing him to fight, but Hardy seems to think it’s not as much of a door closer internationally. In an interview with Submission radio, he discussed attempting to be released from his UFC fight contract.

“The only thing that’s happened is I’ve asked two different people for my release from the UFC,” Hardy said when asked if there’d been any communication with the UFC since his untimely firing. “Because, obviously with one contract coming to an end, it makes sense for me to leave with my fight contract as well. So, I’m currently trying to get my release from the UFC so I can start looking at other places.

“I’ve got a few ideas and a few options that I’d like to consider but getting a hold of someone [has been hard]. I might have to recruit Joshua Fabia to get someone’s attention at some point.

“I think it even if it got to a stage where I could get the UFC to give me an opponent, it’s not gonna be the ones I want,” he continued. “They’re not matching veterans with veterans anymore, they’re matching veterans with the new guys coming up so that they can build the next name.

“And I’m not interested in fighting someone that nobody knows. Like, Cowboy, Matt Brown. They would never in a million years give me the Nick Diaz fight. They’ll use Nick Diaz to build somebody else up. And I just don’t want to be in that situation. Plus, my fight contract is what, eight years old? So, you can imagine the numbers on it. It’s rather embarrassing.”

UFC contracts are pretty hardcore in that there’s no fixed ending in them. The contract pauses should a fighter “retire” or stop fighting because of a medical issue like Hardy’s. So despite nearly a decade since his last UFC bout, Hardy is no closer to being free of his UFC fight contract. Hence his joke about getting in touch with Diego Sanchez’s coach Josh Fabia, who gave the UFC such skeebies they paid out Diego’s contract and released him no strings attached.

It’s certainly possible UFC could release Hardy ... honestly, it’d be kind of dickish for them not to. If they do, what kind of options would Hardy be looking at?

Or ... just maybe ... his wish was granted?

“I’d love to fight in Japan,” he said. “I’ve always been a big fan of Japan. You know, RIZIN, ONE championship are doing amazing things. I actually think that would be a great place for Diego [Sanchez] to go. They’ve got Shinya Aoki floating around there that’s what, got 47 wins on his record? I’d like to see Diego against Aoki. That’d be an interesting one.”

Or, perhaps, Hardy vs. Nick Diaz?!?!?!?!

“But as soon as that UFC door closed, so many other doors opened. And different options, not even just MMA. I’ve got other things that I would consider as well. The world’s much bigger than I actually realized, I think. So, now I’ve started looking at these other organizations and different weight classes as well. I mean, I could jump into some of these at middleweight and light heavyweight and fancy my chances. We’ll see what happens.”