Dan Hardy doesn't need to rely on Joe Silva's matchmaking to provide himself an opportunity to prove his merit.
All he needs are his two fists, his two eyes and a solid knowledge of two legends the caliber of former UFC Welterweight Champions BJ Penn and Matt Hughes, and then he'll give the world a good idea of who he'd like to face after his UFC 120 fight with Carlos Condit.
ESPN UK reports that The Outlaw does in fact have an interest in fighting either the greatest Welterweight Champion in UFC history or The Prodigy, who stand 0-2 against current Lightweight king Frankie Edgar, but has not been knocked away from any claims of being considered one of the greatest Lightweights in MMA history.
At the same time, though, the two former opponents of GSP also share the title of "possible future opponent for Dan Hardy" with a man who has beaten Matt Serra—a man by the name of Chris Lytle.
For Hardy, those three fighters, along with obvious future-fight candidates such as Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, Josh Koscheck—who not only faces Georges St-Pierre this December, but is also responsible for Paul Daley's exile from the UFC—and all-in-all any other established name in the UFC Welterweight division would be able to prove where Hardy stands in the division.
Actually, that may be more the case with Hughes and Penn than Lytle, the latter with whom Hardy would like to fight for three simple reasons:
- The fight makes sense to Hardy.
- He respects Lytle as a fighter, so the fight would get even your Mr. and Mrs. Softy to watch the fight because of the mutual respect (the only detriment of which is a lack of talking s**t between the two).
- Hardy recognizes that Lytle's style is much like his in a lot of ways—it's mostly a stand-up style of offense that isn't as aggressive as Wanderlei Silva, but is nonetheless exciting and always fun to watch, which makes the fight more interesting to the fans.
Whether Hardy does beat Condit on Saturday or not, I for one will support the decision to put Hardy against the winner of Hughes-Penn III, the loser of Hughes-Penn III, or Lytle, regardless of how Hardy's UFC 120 fight ends.
Either way, we're guaranteed a fight that everyone will remember for a long time.