This Saturday in London, UFC 120 will feature an awesome matchup between Dan Hardy and Carlos Condit.
Not only do both fighters have outstanding records, they have a history of finishing fights. But there's some legitimate bad blood between the two depending on who you ask, Condit either called Hardy out or asked for him as an opponent.
Either way, Hardy started his usual smack talking shenanigans, and we should be in for a barnburner.
Condit is a legitimate threat to Hardy, despite being the underdog. The former WEC Welterweight champion has great stand up, has experienced the pressure of big fights and is training out of Greg Jackson's camp.
However, there's a reason he's still an underdog in this fight. Hardy's power and athleticism are going to be a problem for Condit, as well as the fact that he's a quicker striker, which should enable him to fire off his jab first and set the pace when the fight is standing.
It's also important not to underestimate the effect the home country advantage will play for Hardy, as I'm sure the crowd will be behind him 100 percent.
Here's what I think Dan Hardy needs to do to beat Carlos Condit.
1. Be first. Condit has a two inch reach advantage ("76"-"74"), so Hardy will need to use his jab to set the distance of the fight. Hardy has to respect Condit's hands and feet, so he'll have to set a distance that doesn't get him picked apart with kicks.
2. Utilize the strength advantage. Hardy is one of the strongest Welterweight's out there. Condit, not so much. Hardy should use his strength and possibly some sort of dirty boxing to push Condit against the fence, before letting his hands go.
3. Punish Condit for Takedown Attempts. Hardy has wicked uppercuts with a ton of power. He's got to use those as the first line of defense against take downs. Hardy has shown a toughness on the ground if it goes there, but he's got to make Condit suffer for even trying to take him down.
4. Expect a safe strategy from Condit. Condit is fighting out of the Jackson camp now, which means he's going to be using a very safe and specific gameplan. Hardy needs to try to counter that strategy with precise striking and Octagon control.
5. Worst comes to worst, brawl it out. Hardy is a REALLY tough dude. We learned that much during the GSP fight. I have major doubts about Condit's ability to finish Hardy.
I don't have similar concerns about Hardy's ability to finish Condit. Hardy should be willing to take two to land one, knowing that his power can end this fight at almost any time.
I can't wait to see UFC 120 this weekend to see what happens.