Dan Hardy still thinks about returning to competition, but explains how it won’t be as difficult as many think.
Though he never officially hung up his gloves, Hardy (25-10 MMA, 7-4 UFC) hasn’t competed since September 2012, when he defeated Amir Sadollah in his hometown of Nottingham, England.
The 38-year-old former UFC welterweight title challenger was then scheduled to face Matt Brown in April 2013, but was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (also known as “Wolf Heart”) and forced to withdraw. He decided against surgery and has been teasing a comeback for a while, but seems closer than ever to actually making it a reality.
On an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show in August 2019, Hardy, who’s been serving as an analyst and UFC commentator since 2014, said he had intentions of reentering the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool with the hopes of making a comeback.
That hasn’t materialized yet, but Hardy continues to hint that he will likely return. He admits that after watching some of the older fighters such as Ricardo Lamas and Frankie Edgar pick up wins last weekend, he’s motivated and confident that he’d be ready to return, and admitted he occupies his mind quite a bit.
“All the time,” Hardy told MMA Junkie Radio. “Frankie Edgar is still going at it. I mean, I felt like I was still in school when Frankie Edgar was making his UFC debut, and I’m pretty sure I’m older than him still. What we realize about MMA is that it’s a lot more down to IQ and experience. We’re having a lot of fighters that are having success later in their life. I know Lamas was talking about retiring at the weekend, but I thought he looked great. I thought he looked in fantastic condition, and he’s 38 as well.
“The other thing that made me laugh – because, as you know, I do my research – when I was researching for the ‘Fight Island’ finale, the last event on there, there were four guys on the card who were older than me. Two of them were fighting each other: (Mauricio) ‘Shogun’ (Rua) and (Antonio Rogerio) Nogueira. (Francisco) Trinaldo is older than me. I think there were four guys older than me. But the other truth is, that there was one guy that had more MMA experience than me. I’ve had a lot of fights. I’ve been around here a long time. I’ve only been knocked out in a fight once. I’ve not drank in years. I’m not taking punches to the head on a daily and weekly basis.”
The majority of Hardy’s losses have come by decision or submission, and he hasn’t engaged in too many slugfests that have compromised his health. He thinks the time off has certainly helped, and once he returns, he’ll be in solid form.
“As much as I look at these guys and go ‘Wow they’re still performing well at 38, 40, 42,’ I’m also looking at how much wear and tear they’ve got compared to me,” Hardy said. “So if and when I do decide to come back, someone’s gonna get it – and I don’t think people realize that.”