UFC on Fox 7 Fight Card: Matchmaking for Injured Dan Hardy's Return

Sean SmithAnalyst IMarch 22, 2013

May 26, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dan Hardy reacts to the win over Duane Ledwig (not pictured) during UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden event center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Hardy was to have a big opportunity at UFC on Fox 7.

Beating Matt Brown would have given him a third straight win and a chance to make a statement on network television.

Unfortunately, Hardy suffered an injury and was forced out of his scheduled bout with Brown (via MMAJunkie.com). Strikeforce veteran and budding prospect Jordan Mein will take the Englishman's place on the April 20 fight card.

Details were not given on Hardy's injury, but there is not yet reason to believe the former top welterweight contender will be out of action for an exceptionally long period. 

Should Hardy be capable of returning to training within the next month or two, he could climb back into the cage quickly against an opponent who fought recently or will compete soon. One potential matchup of particular interest would be a fight between Hardy and another former UFC title challenger in Patrick Cote.

Cote recently made his UFC welterweight debut at UFC 158, where he picked up a narrow decision win over Bobby Voelker in his home country of Canada.

A bout between Hardy and Cote would make sense competitively, as both fighters have recently got back on a winning track after going through some struggles following their respective title shots against Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva.

However, what makes a fight between Hardy and Cote even more intriguing is the way the 170-pound competitors compare stylistically.

Hardy and Cote are solid boxers who are not often hesitant to enter into wild exchanges. The potential for a knockout in a bout between the two would be high. Even in the event that neither fighter is able to finish, a bout between Hardy and Cote would almost certainly turn into a Fight of the Night candidate.

Cote only received a 14-day medical suspension following his win over Voelker, so he should be ready to go again by late-summer or early-fall. Assuming Hardy did not suffer some type of career-altering injury, it's not out of the question that he'd be ready to go within that same general timetable.

In an ideal world, this fight serves as a preliminary card headliner or main card opener at the UFC's debut event on Fox Sports 1, which will take place on August 17.