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| | UFC's Hardy says Condit likely next, welcomes fights with Koscheck, Kampmann
UFC's Hardy says Condit likely next, welcomes fights with Koscheck, Kampmann | MMAjunkie.com
UFC's Hardy says Condit likely next, welcomes fights with Koscheck, Kampmann |
by John Morgan on Jul 06, 2010 at 8:45 am ET
UFC welterweight contender Dan Hardy (23-7 MMA, 4-1) remembers a time not that long ago when he was a little-known British import without much of a reputation.
But after five UFC fights and a failed title bid against current champion Georges St-Pierre, "The Outlaw" says it still feels strange to be picked out of a crowd – even at Disneyland.
"I was standing in line at the Star Wars ride, and there were these two guys dressed as Storm Troopers," Hardy said at a UFC Fan Club Q&A session. "One of them turns around and points at me and looks at his friend. I was like, 'This is weird. The Storm Troopers are recognizing me.'"
Hardy was riding a wave of popularity entering his March matchup with the champ, but just as St-Pierre has done so many times before, "Rush" sent the Brit home scratching his head. At 28 years old, Hardy now says the fight was a real learning experience, and he believes he understands exactly what it will take to one day become a champion.
"I've been in there with the best now," Hardy said. "I've been in there with 'GSP.' I know what he can do; I know what he's good at, and he also highlighted a lot of things in my game that I need to work on – things that I knew about before, but obviously getting taken down for 25 minutes and beaten reinforced it.
"I know what I need to work on, and I'm back in the gym already working on it."
Hardy is expected to fight at the as-yet-unannounced UFC 120 event expected to take place Oct. 16 at The 02 in London, England. the British slugger wasn't free to discuss the particulars of his next matchup, though he did admit the possibility of a Caros Condit bout is intriguing.
"I can't say the name on the contract yet, I don't think," Hardy said. "The speculation is Carlos Condit, and if that comes to be, then that would be an awesome fight. I used to watch Carlos when he used to fight in the WEC. He's a real exciting fighter, and he comes to brawl. That's what I'm all about. I hope it is him.
"He doesn't go to a decision very often. He likes to come finish fights. He's got good submissions and good striking, and he doesn't mind mixing it up and taking a few shots. If that fight comes off, I'll be really looking for it."
Another name that could be on the horizon in the near future for Hardy is Danish striker Martin Kampmann. "Hitman" has openly lobbied for the matchup, and the styles of both fighters would seem likely to combine for an enticing battle.
Hardy said he considers Kampmann a friend, but that doesn't mean he's opposed to the idea of a fight.
"Kampmann looked awesome his last fight," Hardy said. "I was there, and I watched that live. I was very impressed. I didn't think he was going to be able to control Paulo Thaigo as well as he did.
"I have trained with Martin a lot. He's a good friend of mine, and he's a very, very talented fighter. If I ever fight him, I think it would be great fun. I've got a lot of respect for him, and I think it would be a great fight."
While the Condit and Kampmann matchups each appear beneficial to Hardy based on stylistic opportunities, there's another fight that appeals to the Brit for an entirely different reason. Hardy said he looks forward to the day he can fight current "The Ultimate Fighter 12" coach and title contender Josh Koscheck.
"I just have different values than Josh Koscheck," Hardy said. "No faking eyepokes or knees to the head. I don't bitch and moan. You've got to understand – I just beat Mike Swick a week before to get my title shot. I went to UFC 106 feeling good about myself and having a great time. I sat right beside the octagon, and as soon as Josh Koscheck won his fight, he called me out. I wanted to kick him in his teeth right then, but I couldn't.
"I've kind of stored this inside of me. I sound like I'm a little bitter, but I do have good reasons."
Of course, circumstances could change drastically between now and a future matchup with Koscheck as "The Ultimate Fighter 1" veteran has a December title fight on the horizon. So what does Hardy expect from Koscheck's clash with St-Pierre?
"I've been asked this question a lot because I fought 'GSP' and I don't like Koscheck," Hardy said. "It could go one of two ways because the last time they fought, Koscheck assumed nobody would be able to take him down and he wasn't working his wrestling. Now he realizes that he can be taken down by other fighters, so he's going to back to his wrestling. I can see him stuffing some of 'GSP's' takedowns, which means he might be able to force him into a standup fight. Then it's anybody's fight.
"It's either going to be a standup fight and someone's getting knocked out, or we're going to see 25 minutes of spooning."
So for now, Hardy likely has his hands full with a former WEC champion, but that doesn't mean he's not considering what comes next. Hardy's ultimate goal is of course to get another crack at the belt. When that comes, he insists he'll be ready.
"Obviously my next fight, if that's against Carlos Condit, that would be a great fight and a great win for me," Hardy said. "Then if I could get two more wins after that, then that would put be back in line for a title shot. But I've got work to do before I'm worthy of holding the belt.
"If Koscheck takes the fight from 'GSP,' then that would be a great fight for me. Not only beating Koscheck but taking the belt from him would be amazing."
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