Dan Hardy felt an added sting watching Dan Henderson knock out countryman Mike Bisping at UFC 100 on July 11 in Las Vegas, and not because he was sitting with Bisping’s parents at the time.
“I think one of the first things I thought as soon I saw him get knocked out, was, ‘Oh dear, everyone’s going to be back down on the U.K. again,” said Hardy.
Hardy noted U.S. fans apply a different mentality to accessing U.K. fighters.
“I think all the British fighters will probably agree with me when I say I think that we feel we’re up against it as far as fan support goes,” he said. “I think people expect less of us because we’re from the U.K., because they assume we don’t have the right kind of training and coaching in the U.K., which is why I spend so much time (in the U.S.).”
Hardy stays in the U.S. for months at a time studying from trainers like Freddie Roach and Eddie Bravo before traveling back to England and his Rough House team to share what he’s picked up.
The 27-year-old, mohawked fighter will return to Nottingham in the next few weeks to begin preparation for a tentatively scheduled welterweight bout with Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 105 on Nov. 14 in Manchester (contracts are not yet signed). Hardy, known for his slug-outs with Akihiro Gono, Marcus Davis and Rory Markham, is undefeated in three appearances for the UFC and will likely appear on the main card.
“Everyone’s been down on the U.K. for a little while, and I think that’s partly due to the fact that the British fans are so vocal about the British fighters because it’s such a new thing for us,” said Hardy. “We haven’t had any fighters that can compete at that level.”
Hardy noted that U.K. fans’ passion for their fighters tends to “wind up” the American fans. In Bisping’s case, fueled on by the Brit’s perceived cockiness as a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter 9,” Hardy said the floodgates came crashing open.
“I think the American fans have been waiting for something like that to happen to say, ‘There you go, we told you that you weren’t as good as you thought you were,’” said Hardy. “Everyone’s waiting for me to fall as well. As soon as I lose my first fight in the UFC, they’re going to be dancing around the room and that’s just part of the sport.”
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