Former UFC welterweight Dan Hardy has revealed his expectations for a return to combat sports ahead of his exhibition fight with Diego Sanchez.
The former UFC title challenger is set to take on Sanchez in an exhibition boxing match on the undercard of Ricky Hatton vs Marco Antonio Barrera which will take place on July 2nd in Manchester, England.
Hardy has not competed in any kind of setting since 2012 when he ended his tenure in the UFC on a high with a win over Amir Sadollah. The Englishman went 25-10 during his professional career in MMA.
He was controversially relieved from his duties by the UFC in 2021 following an alleged disagreement that occurred between him and a female employee. Yet, Hardy remained tied to a fighter contract with the organization for a further two months before asking for his release.
Following his release from the UFC, Hardy has looked at pastures new within the world of combat sports. He even spoke of his interest in competing under the ONE Championship banner in Muay Thai. John Wayne Parr remained a figure who was up to face the veteran.
However, with boxing the first venture Hardy will look to compete in with his return to fighting, the 39-year-old has spoken on his options past the exhibition bout. In an interview with The MMA Hour‘The Outlaw’ went into detail about how long he expects his return to last as well as his options past the upcoming fight with Sanchez.
“I think the career of fighting is going to be fairly short-lived,” said Hardy, “I wouldn’t consider it to be any longer than sort of, you know, another two years. But there are options. I’ve had so many good options put forward… Over in ONE Championship, there are great options: Nieky Holzken, Eddie Alvarez, Shinya Aoki. I’ve had great Muay Thai fights put in my direction as well. I’ll see. I don’t feel like it’s going to be one-and-done. And I don’t know if I’ll stick to boxing.”
Hardy went on to accept that he knows he doesn’t have long left considering his age, yet embraces it as if he’s renewing his career that was once “cut short”.
“It’s not about championships or anything at this stage. I don’t think either of us are under the illusion that we’ve got a long illustrious career ahead of us… My career was kinda cut short, is what it feels (like). Maybe the two years that I was gonna continue fighting after the Sadollah fight, it just starts again now, but as a free agent.”
How do you think Dan Hardy will fare in his return to professional fighting?