DAN HARDY: What’s next for the UFC legend?
A decision victory over Amir Sadollah in his hometown of Nottingham. 29th September 2012 - what turned out to be Dan Hardy's last bout inside the octagon.
The Outlaw was due back to face Matt Brown in April 2013, when he was pulled from the fight.
In the pre-match medicals, they found Hardy had Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome and refused to clear him for the bout. He hasn't fought since.
In his UFC career, Hardy had won 25 of his 36 fights - 12 by knockout.
That included a seven-fight winning streak that ended with him facing Georges Saint-Pierre for the UFC Welterweight Championship.
He took GSP the distance that night, all five rounds, but unfortunately came up short and missed out on the gold via the judge's scorecards.
Although Hardy never officially retired as a fighter, he began appearing on commentary for UFC events, most recently on the Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar card.
However, The Outlaw revealed to Local TV that he plans on making a comeback to the octagon this year.
He had dropped hints previously, including telling Joe Rogan that he had entered the USADA testing pool to eligible to fight.
"Something switched in my brain"
"I've been moving and edging my way towards it", Hardy said.
"After the Holloway-Kattar fight... something switched in my brain."
Hardy begins to unravel his plans for a return to the octagon after almost a decade out of competition.
"I've got four names in mind. There's a couple of other ones in the periphery.
"Obviously, Cowboy [Donald Cerrone] would be a good one but I don't know where he's at in his career."
He begins to reel off names: Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, Matt Brown - who he'd been denied the chance to face in 2013 - all interest him. The two Diaz brothers also make his shortlist.
The confidence he feels on returning comes down to his knowledge of the sport. He accepts he may not have the physical attributes he last had but believes his mental improvements will counteract any shortfalls in his speed, stamina and strength.
"I'm much, much smarter and sharper now than I was when I was in my early 20's", he continues with a wry smile.
"Any kind of athletic peak that I may have had back then has been offset certainly by my knowledge and my experience.
"I've had a good six or seven years to heal up and get strong so my plan is to fight this year.
He envisions his return coming in late summer or autumn but accepts it's down the UFC's schedule to dictate when he can get back to business.
"Line me up at the O2 Arena"
When asked what his dream scenario would be for his comeback, he acknowledges he would love to return in front of a crowd but that might not be possible - although he does have hope.
"If this vaccine takes off and the world starts to return back to normal, you know, line me up at the O2 Arena."
To see a UFC legend like Hardy make a return to the octagon would be a must-see event.
Let's hope he gets his wish and his comeback can be cherished by a packed, capacity crowd in any arena.
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