Dan Hardy disagrees that Bruce Lee could drop into 2021 and immediately make a splash in mixed martial arts (MMA), but give him time and wifi and watch him take off.
Lee inspired a generation of martial artists and is heralded as a God-like figure by many MMA fighters. Speaking with MMAMania.com, Hardy shared his breakdown of what would make the Enter the Dragon star a compelling modern fighter.
“The biggest contribution, in my opinion especially for students of the game, is the philosophy that he put out. Unfortunately for him, the technical understanding and technical ability of what are limited rules, no rules fighting, street-fighting — whatever you want to call it — the most efficient method of mixing the martial arts was probably not what Bruce Lee was able to do at his best. He still used a lot of spinning kicks and high sidekicks. There was a vulnerability to takedowns with a lot of his movements, but his mind was moving in the right direction. He was searching for answers which, for me, especially reading the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, it’s an unfinished book. He says that at the start of it. Read the book, absorb what you can and then throw it away and start again. He knew it wasn’t finished. He knew it was a process that started.
“If you think that most of Bruce Lee’s experience, [it] came from training with people whenever he got the opportunity from different styles: boxing, karate, whatever, or studying books. Very little video was available. We have DAZN, UFC Fight Pass, ONE Championship’s amazing YouTube channel. Endless amounts of kickboxing and Muay Thai and stuff we can watch. If you sat Bruce Lee down in front of YouTube for 24 hours and let him rethink his game, he would change a lot of things about it. His mind would take him in the right direction. He would have been a very good MMA fighter, but the skill that he had in the 1970s wouldn’t apply now. His mindset would. Had he been born with that same mind in, say, 1995. By now he could be lethal.”
Hardy — who was released by UFC earlier this year after a string of announcer-related mishaps — is expected to make a return to active combat sports competition following a 2012 retirement. “The Outlaw,” 39, paused his MMA career back in 2013 after a medical concern related to his heart (details here). If he does indeed return to combat sports, Hardy will likely fight under the ONE Championship banner and is eyeing a scrap with Australian kickboxing legend John Wayne Parr.
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