• UFC 120

Hardy training with 'ridiculous' secret weapon for Condit

Chris Park, mmatorch.com
October 11, 2010

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Carlos Condit touches down on UK soil to square off against the ever-entertaining home favourite Dan Hardy at UFC 120, and the Briton has been hiding a secret weapon to help get back on the road to the welterweight title.

With similar standing styles - in terms of grit and tenacity - general consensus has deemed Condit's ability to turn things into a ground fight as his best chance of victory at London's O2 Arena. Hardy showed a world of heart and determination when he lost his five-round title fight with Georges St-Pierre back in March, but struggled with the champion's takedowns and continued to be frustrated once the fight hit the ground.

Since that night, Hardy has skipped a summer fight in order to dedicate the last seven months to improving his ground skills. Team Rough House stable-mate and TUF 9 competitor Dean Amasinger has been working closer than ever with Hardy as both men fight within a week of one another during a busy October. Aiming to peak at a similar time in their camps, the two men have been working at the same pace for the last eight weeks, and Amasinger revealed to ESPN that Hardy's camp has featured one very special individual.

"The GSP fight has been a massive eye opener for him," Amasinger said. "I think people were jumping on the bandwagon by saying Dan had no takedown defence. But who hasn't been taken down [at will] by GSP? Dan did wait a little bit too much and didn't let his punches go, he'll be the first to admit that, but since then he has been working his wrestling hard in America.

"One of the main things that we've been doing for this camp is working with Victor Estima from Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu. At the moment [Estima] is No. 3 in the world behind Marcelo Garcia. He is at a ridiculous level of jiu-jitsu and he has just taken our training to different level."

The TUF Team UK welterweight smiled and spoke like a man with a secret when Estima's input to this training camp was mentioned, seemingly highly confident that the new skills learned will prove priceless for both himself and Hardy when fight night comes.

"Submissions are going to be the difference in this fight. Jiu-jitsu and wrestling," Amasinger said. "Dan is such a big powerful welterweight that when the fight does hit the ground that's going to be the difference. Condit is not as big or as strong as Dan is, and Condit is not a high level black-belt, and Dan is doing well against Victor Estima.

"Dan will be able to dictate where this fight takes place. They are actually quite similar fighters in that they both come to fight. I'm cornering Dan on Saturday so I have seen a lot of tape on Condit but Dan is bigger, he is stronger, more explosive and now he has got all these new tools. We used to refer to Victor as 'Weapon X' because nobody knew we were training with him."

Amasinger was in no doubt that his man will be the one who has his hand raised on Saturday night and had one final warning for Carlos Condit ahead of the UFC 120 co-main event.

"Condit thinks he's fighting a brawler, and he's not," Amasinger said. "He thinks he's fighting a brawler who just stands and bangs and Dan is so much more than that. Dan has used those attributes in the past to beat certain people, because Dan's clever, but in this fight... Condit is going to be in for a surprise."

Amasinger will be working the corner for Hardy at the O2 Arena on Saturday, with "The Outlaw" then returning the favour the following week, as Amasinger makes his own comeback when he takes on Jermaine Facey in the main event at UCMMA: Unbelievable.

Chris Park is mmatorch.com's UK specialist. To visit mmatorch.com, click here.

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