Dan Hardy broke a four-fight losing streak last night by knocking out fellow striker Duane Ludwig Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nev. It was a knockout that saved his job with the UFC, as he is a favorite of Dana White.
But Dan Hardy represents a dying breed of fighters who specialize in one area of MMA and bank on that skill to win fights. In Hardy's case, he is a good kickboxer with no ground game. When he wins, it is because he overwhelms opponents with his striking. When he loses, in most cases it's because his ground game is exposed.
We have been seeing the new breed begin to take over MMA lately. The new breed is a wave of fighters who are well-rounded and can fight successfully in any aspect of MMA. A great example of this is Jon Jones.
Now, obviously Jones is a special fighter, as he is a combination of physically gifted, athletic and skilled.
But look at guys in this dying breed. Dan Hardy has no ground game and relies on his striking to win fights. He got a helluva matchup last night, as he was put up against Duane Ludwig, another guy who represents the dying breed.
Ludwig, like Hardy, has a limited ground game. He is a Muay Thai champion who has not evolved, especially considering he has been an MMA fighter since 2000.
It's guys like Hardy and Ludwig who find themselves almost fazing out in favor of guys who train to be complete mixed martial artists. Guys who are purely wrestlers, kickboxers or jiu-jitsu fighters have seen less and less success than they did in the early days of MMA.
Also consider the fact that Hardy has been knocked out on the feet, which proves that even his superior kickboxing will not always carry him to victory. Carlos Condit knocked Hardy's head off with a huge counter hook, effectively putting Hardy away.
Within the next few years, we will see guys like Hardy disappear into obscurity unless they intensely focus on the holes in their game. The new breed will continue to knock off the old guard until they evolve.
Until then, enjoy guys like Dan Hardy who, while exciting, will continue to struggle against the new wave of fighters. This new wave of fighters will continue to rock MMA like a hurricane and push out guys like Hardy and Ludwig.