Back at UFC 89, Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy took the UFC by storm. That night, he defeated tough veteran Akihiro Gono by split decision. He then fought Rory Markham at UFC 95 and got the KO win in the very first round.
Still, no fight got Hardy on the map more then the Marcus Davis fight at UFC 99. The war of words between both fighters before the fight is legendary and will most likely go down as one of the greatest rivalries ever. Dan Hardy pulled off the win against Davis and at UFC 105, will fight for a shot at the UFC welterweight championship.
His opponent, the always tough Mike "Quick" Swick who is also looking at a championship fight if he can get through Hardy.
I recently had the privilege to talk with Dan before his big fight with Swick.
I heard you went to train in China back in 2002 with the Shaolin Monks, could you tell us a little about that?
It was crazy! two months in a temple, in the middle of nowhere, training with a small group of monks and a bunch of people from all over the world. I couldn't possibly cover it all in a couple of paragraphs, but I will say, it taught me alot about my capabilities and gave me a lot of mental strength.
You recently received you purple belt in BJJ from Eddie Bravo. How is it to work with Eddie and do you feel your BJJ skills have been improving?
Its great fun, I learn a lot each time I am over there and his students dedicate a lot of time and effort to helping me improve. Its a very innovative environment and you just can't help but improve.
Prior to your fight against Marcus Davis at UFC 99, you were working your hands with Freddy Roach, are you still training with him for the Mike Swick fight?
I haven't for this fight, I decided to bring in a different coach. Freddy is great, and I am looking forward to training with him again, it just wasn't convenient for this fight.
The build-up leading to your fight against Marcus Davis at UFC 99 is personally the greatest build-up I've ever seen. You two had a war of words because of him laying claim to the UK and it blew up from there, how much of it was personal and how much of it was part of your gameplan?
For me is was about 10% personal, 40% fun and 50% gameplan. He is still all bent out of shape over it though. I just like to have a laugh and get under people's skin a little, if I think it will help in the fight. Marcus doesn't seem to understand my sense of humour though!
You worked hard on the mental aspect of the fight against Davis, did you feel you had him beat before the fight actually began?
Only he can answer that, but I do think that it played a part in the outcome. Fighting is a very emotional game, and if you can't control that, you are at a disadvantage.
Are you planning on doing the same thing to Mike Swick before UFC 105?
I don't think this fight needs it. For Swick, it is just a case of training hard and giving him the beating of a lifetime. I have already won this fight in the gym, without saying a word.
Have you talked to Marcus Davis after the fight, are you guys cool now or does he still hate you and wants a rematch?
From what I understand, he still hates me pretty bad. I'm cool with that, its no great loss to me. We probably wouldn't get along anyways! (laughs)
You were initially supposed to fight Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 105, has your training changed a lot since the opponent change?
I had only just begun the opponent-specific part of camp for that fight, so nothing had to change that much. We had only just started to build a gameplan, so we just threw that out and started studying swick instead. I don't feel like I ever really trained specifically for Kim.
How has the training been going for your upcoming fight against Mike Swick?
Awesome! Best camp yet, by far!
Mike Swick is known for his aggressiveness at the beginning of every fight, that's where he earned his nickname "Quick."
Both of you have displayed some great stand-up skills in past fights, What's your strategy for the first minutes of the fight and then later on into the later rounds and do you think your stand-up will get you the win?
I don't want to give away too much, because I have some special surprises for him. All I will say is that, if he is foolish enough to charge at me like a maniac, he might as well giftwrap his chin. I'm not thinking of the later rounds, because I don't plan on the fight making it there.
The Swick fight is now a No. 1 contender's fight for GSP's title, are you happy with the potential title shot or do you think it's still too early?
Hell yes I am! When you get an opportunity like that, you grab it with both hands.
Should you get pass Swick, how would you approach the fight against GSP? He's a great wrestler and people seem to be afraid to strike because of the takedowns, what would be your strategy?
I can't think past Swick. Ask me again on the morning of November 15th, I will already have a gameplan for him ready to go.
It's safe to say that England has a lot of talent and you are easily one of the best European fighters in MMA today. Michael Bisping has helped England get more exposure in the past years and he became the most popular fighter from England.
His loss at UFC 100 against Dan Henderson hurt his status, do you feel you have to pick up where he left off and represent England and become a sort of poster boy for it?
I just do my job, the UFC can use me as they see fit. We haven't seen the last of Mike though. He will be back, Im sure.
I would love your intake on some of these upcoming main events, can you give us your predictions:
Couture vs Vera - I want Randy, just because I don't like seeing him getting beaten up!
Carwin vs Lesnar - When it happens, probably Lesnar by TKO. The sooner Lesnar is beaten the better though.
Penn vs Sanchez - I'll take a chance and say Sanchez. His workrate and craziness could be the deciding factor.
Well thanks a lot for your time Dan, it was a pleasure to talk, good luck in your fight at UFC 105 against Swick, do you have any final thoughts or special thanks?
Thanks for the kind words mate, I would just like to thank the fans for the support and check out danhardymma.com