Former UFC title challenger Dan Hardy wants to end his exile from the cage, and says he has petitioned the UFC to release him from his fight contract as he chases his first fight in nearly a decade.
Hardy was removed from the UFC commentary team and informed that his role in the company’s production staff was over amid reports of a so-called “disagreement” with a UFC employee. The Nottingham man has since admitted he regrets the situation, but that he has no such feelings over his public row with referee Herb Dean stemming from what Hardy perceived as a late stoppage in a fight involving his compatriot Jai Herbert last year.
And in addition to being relieved of his commentary duties, Hardy told Australian outlet Submission Radio that he also wants to be released from his fight contract.
“The only thing that’s happened is I’ve asked two different people for my release from the UFC,” Hardy said. “Because obviously with one contract coming to an end, it would make sense for me to leave with my fight contract as well. So I’m currently trying to get my release from the UFC so then I can start looking at other places.
“I’ve got a few ideas and a few options that I’d like to consider. But it’s just getting a hold of someone, I might have to recruit Joshua Fabia to get someone’s attention at some point.”
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Hardy’s fight career hit the brakes several years ago when it emerged that he had been diagnoses with a rare heart disorder which might have complicated his ability to receive a license. However, that issue has reportedly been sidestepped, allowing Hardy freedom to take another fight — something he says he doubted would happen in the UFC.
“I think even if it got to the stage where I could get the UFC to give me an opponent, it’s not going to be one of the ones I want,” Hardy said. “They’re not matching veterans with veterans anymore. They’re matching veterans with the new guys coming up so they can build the next name and I’m not interested in fighting someone that nobody knows.
“‘Cowboy,’ Matt Brown, they would never in a million years give me the Nick Diaz fight. They would use Nick Diaz to build somebody else up. I just don’t want to be in that situation. Plus, my fight contract is, what, eight years old? So you can imagine the numbers on it, it’s rather embarrassing.”
The MMA veteran also stated that he has long held an ambition to compete in Japan, and now might be the time.
“I’d love to fight in Japan,” Hardy explained. “I’ve always been a fan of Japan. RIZIN, ONE Championship are doing amazing things. I actually think that would be a great place for Diego to go. They’ve got Shinya Aoki floating around there that has, what, 47 wins on his record? I’d like to see Diego against Aoki, that would be an interesting one.
“But just as soon as that UFC door closed, so many other doors opened, and different options, not even just MMA. I’ve got other things I would consider as well. The world’s much bigger than I actually realised, I think, so now I’m starting to look at these other organisations, and different weight classes as well. I could jump into some of these at middleweight and light heavyweight and fancy my chances. We’ll see what happens.”