- UFC 146
The old Cage Warriors spirit is back - Hardy
Dan Hardy believes that, for the first time in two years, he is finally in the correct place mentally to return to the type of form that once saw him fly through the UFC's welterweight ranks.
Hardy has verbally agreed to fight Duane Ludwig at UFC 146, knowing he will step into the Octagon facing the inescapable fact that he has lost his past four fights.
However, prior to that run Hardy had won seven on the spin. Victories over the wily Akihiro Gono and the technically excellent Mike Swick, in addition to other wins over Marcus Davis and Rory Markham, rocketed the Brit to a title shot - where even the great Georges St-Pierre could not finish him.
Since then personal issues, overtraining and a severe drop in confidence have all dented Hardy's career. However, he has now moved his training base to the US, where he is committing himself to training with the world's top names, and the Outlaw is convinced he has not felt so good in a very long time.
"I've got the anger back that I used to have when I was at Cage Warriors, which is a good place to be because that's when I enjoyed hurting people," Hardy said in a recent interview with ESPN.
"I spent my whole career trying to get to the UFC, but then a lot of changes in my life, personal things and the media attention - it distracted me from being a mixed martial artist.
"I've never put the time aside to get back to that place. I've made alterations, but I've never completely changed my training camp. After the losses to GSP and [Carlos] Condit, I was too eager to get back in there and get a win.
"I over-trained big time, the last two fights don't even look like me. I can see it in the expression in my face, the [Anthony] Johnson fight and [Chris] Lytle fight, I was exhausted before I even stepped in the cage. I was not in a good situation, I was ready to fight Lytle three weeks too early - I was exhausted.
"Now I've got a system where the coaches take all responsibility away from me, all I have to do is show up to the gym."