Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy has kept busy since he was ruled out of competition back in 2013 after he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Although Hardy’s heart condition forced him out of his natural competitive environment in the UFC’s Octagon, he has proven to be a dynamic sort as he has excelled in both commentary and analysis for the promotion ever since.
However, despite his seamless transition into the media landscape, the new role hasn’t really satisfied the Englishman’s competitive age. Having competed in various martial arts his whole life, Hardy’s new gig has no doubt been a big shift in pace for him. Therefore, when an opportunity presented itself to be a crewmember with Team Great Britain on the 5,300-mile journey from London to Rio, the first leg of the Round the World Yacht Race, ‘The Outlaw’ was more than happy to take it.
The former welterweight championship contender should finish his journey in Rio at the beginning of October after setting sail on Sunday from the English capital. While his first order of duty after his sail will be in a commentating capacity for UFC Dublin on October 24, Hardy has claimed that he would like to put himself through a six-week camp in November and December with a view to getting clearance to fight in January.
“(A return to MMA) has certainly been on my mind, but I’ve been quite single minded with regard to this race recently,” explained Hardy, days before he sets sail for Rio. “In that respect, the single-mindedness, this experience has been a lot like a training camp leading up to a fight. Maybe when I’m back and after I do the Dublin show in October, maybe then I can focus on training again. I’d like to do a full six-week camp in November and December, and then look to get cleared in January.”
Conor McGregor’s blistering trajectory through the featherweight ranks has been compared to Hardy’s similar route to a welterweight title shot after making his debut with UFC in 2008. ‘The Outlaw’ marked the Irishman out as a potential future champion very early into his UFC tenure, and he is looking forward to seeing how the drama plays out when Aldo finally meets McGregor in December 12.
Specifically, Hardy referenced how frustrated Aldo must be as he has been forced to watch as ‘The Notorious’ won the interim title in the UFC 189 main event against Chad Mendes. According to the Brit, the whole process will “either motivate him or break him.”
“It’s going to be interesting how all of this build up and hype affects the outcome of the fight given the fact that Aldo pulled out of the first one. He has to sit home and watch while McGregor went out and fought, he got a belt put around his waist after beating chad Mendes impressively.
“Aldo has got to be aware that McGregor is going to be his toughest test so far. I’m sure he’s had a lot of anxiety as he was forced to sit and wait and watch while his opponent has prepared for a fight, won an interim title and now as he’s gone straight into coaching The Ultimate Fighter.
“McGregor has never taken his foot off the gas while Aldo has been forced to watch from the sidelines. I imagine that’s been quite frustrating for him. It could either motivate him or it might break him. It’s all coming down to this fight and it’s going to be amazing. I really can’t wait.”
Hardy also discussed what he hopes to take from his experience of sailing from London to Rio. The Nottingham man believes that he will get a sense of achievement from completing the journey and he hopes that the new skills he has developed to take part in the sail will stand to him. He also stressed the personal importance of “surviving within Mother Nature” and “knowing how to negate the elements”, something that he will definitely need to do on his month long journey.
He said: “When I get off the boat in Rio, I’ll definitely feel like I’ve achieved something. I’ll feel like I’ve pushed myself to do something new. I feel like I lost some momentum when I was forced out of fighting. That was very frustrating, whereas now I have the option to fulfill that void, I can really achieve something here.
“More than anything, I’ll know that this is an environment that I can survive in. I want to be a good crewmember, I want to hold my own weight and I want to learn how to sail a boat. That’s something I’ve always wanted to be able to do. Surviving within Mother Nature and having that respect, knowing how to negate the elements, that’s all very important to me.
“Having that experience—sailing from London to Rio—that’s an experience that not a lot of people can have. I feel very honored.”
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