Dan Hardy reveals talks with big names over UFC return: ‘I could have a very busy 2021’

Dan Hardy is preparing for a return having not fought since 2012 (Picture: Getty Images)

The wheels are in motion for Dan Hardy’s UFC return in 2021 and it could be a string of big name fights for the Outlaw on his comeback to the cage.

The 38-year-old has not fought since September 2012 but does not feel that a lengthy hiatus will cost him as he eyes up fellow fighters who boast veteran status.

The Outlaw was diagnosed with heart condition Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, which caused him to step away from the Octagon eight years ago, despite winning his last two fights.

He was cleared to compete again in 2018 and 2021 is going to be the time his return finally comes to pass. Hardy has watched the sport grow and the fighters enjoy fame and riches that were out of reach for him in his pomp, now he wants another piece of the action.

He has even been holding talks with possible opponents as he looks to work as his own matchmaker.

‘Absolutely it is the plan [to return in 2021], I’ve been having a word with a few different opponents, potential fights that would happen,’ Hardy told

‘I’m an old guy now, so I’m talking to the other old guys about some kind of Old Age Pensioners, veterans league.

‘The bug never goes away, that’s the reality of it and I never really got closure on my career because of the way it came to a close. I’m still under contract to the UFC, so I’ve got a few fights left to go.

‘With the sport the way it is at the moment, the notoriety the fighters are getting, the scale of these events and excitement around them, it’s just different from when I was fighting.

‘It’s been a few years since I stepped in there last, but the growth of the sport has been incredible, to be able to get back in there and try and give a better account of myself than I did the last time is a goal of mine.’

Hardy is not interested in taking on the rising stars of the sport, especially when there are so many tantalising names of a similar age to him.

‘There’s not one name in particular,’ he said. ‘There’s a group of guys that would always be interesting.

‘The Diaz brothers are always a fascinating match up for anybody. Nick Diaz coming out of retirement after a period of time off, that would be ideal given the fact we’ve both had a long layoff.

‘Cowboy [Donald Cerrone] is a big name, a respectable guy in this sport, a veteran coming towards the end of his career, so that would make sense.

Donald Cerrone (L) could be an opponent for the Outlaw (Picture: Zuffa LLC)

‘Anthony Pettis I’ve got a lot of respect for as a martial artist and he’s expressed an interest in facing me if I come back.

‘There are a few good options on the table, I could have a very busy 2021 with a few wins and see where we’re at after that.’

The prospect of the Brit fighting the likes of Cerrone, Pettis and a Diaz brother in one year is an alluring one for fans, but Hardy knows things could get in the way.

He’s ready to go, but knows that things can go downhill very quickly inside the Octagon and even in the training room.

Hardy has been working with the UFC as a pundit, commentator, analyst and interviewer (Picture: Getty Images)

‘We’ll see,’ he said. ‘I might do two weeks of training camp and realise I’m too old but at the moment I’m feeling pretty sharp, feeling good.

‘I’ve been training a bit heavier recently, I’ve gained muscle mass so I need to consider things but I’ll probably stick at 170lbs, I did consider lightweight because my weight had dropped down, but welterweight makes sense.

‘The reality is, it’s how the fights go. If I don’t look or feel very good or if I lose, I might decide that’s it.

‘But if I go and stop somebody in the first round I’ll not be nearly satisfied with that so I’ll get back in there and go again.’

MORE: Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight in the UFC again, predicts Dana White

MORE: Jon Jones fumes as Khabib Nurmagomedov is named above him on UFC pound-for-pound list

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more