• UFC Fight Night 24

'Hardy's a beast' admits frustrated Johnson

ESPN staff
March 27, 2011
Dan Hardy survived a couple of tight submission attempts against Anthony Johnson at UFC Fight Night 24 © Getty Images

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Anthony Johnson labelled Dan Hardy a "beast" after he failed to submit the Briton at UFC Fight Night 24 in Seattle.

Johnson took home an impressive unanimous decision after out-wrestling Hardy for 15 minutes. The American also dropped his foe with an early head kick to announce his return to the Octagon, leaving Hardy's UFC career in doubt.

Rumble could not finish the fight though and, much like Georges St-Pierre, he was left to admire Hardy's courage when put in the toughest of positions. Johnson tried arm triangles and neck cranks in order to clinch a stoppage, but he was left frustrated by Hardy's never-say-die attitude.

"I had him in the one submission - the head-and-arm [choke] - and he almost tapped," said Johnson. "I think he almost tapped, but it's hard to tap Dan Hardy. The guy is a beast.

"I have so much love and respect for him. I thought I was going to be the first guy to tap him in the UFC, but that didn't happen."

Elaborating on his tactics, which surprisingly saw Johnson cast aside his usual striking game to revert to a wrestling offence, the American confessed he simply had to target Hardy's weakness.

"I knew I could bang with him," Johnson said. "That was no problem. I knew I could do that, but I knew his weakness was his wrestling, and I know that's one of my strengths. I just took it to my advantage and used it.

"I was kind of disappointed in myself because I like to finish fights and this was just one of those times I didn't finish it. Deep down inside, I wanted to finish the fight, but I just needed to win. After being out for a year and some change, I just needed to get back in the groove of things and just get the win."

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