Dan Hardy has a following. | Photo: Dave Mandel
With four consecutive losses, all in the UFC, Dan Hardy may be on the brink of a unique feat: the opportunity to string five defeats together before getting cut by the promotion.
Coming into his fight with Chris Lytle in the UFC Live 5 main event, two questions surrounded the Brit. First, would he be able to deliver the goods, and, second, if he failed to do so, would he be released? After losing via submission in the third round of an entertaining if not outstanding effort on Hardy’s part, Ultimate Fighting Championship CEO Lorenzo Fertitta tweeted that Hardy would not be cut due to his entertaining style.
Life is not fair, and Hardy’s retention is precisely the result of two factors: the aforementioned style and, more importantly, his ability to draw fans in the U.K. If he were a more generic-type, say, another bent-ear wrestler from the Midwest or one of the endless stream of Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, it would be a different story. Along with Michael Bisping, Hardy represents a meaningful anchor in the organization’s foothold on growing internationally.
Hardy is no slouch as a fighter, but there are a lot of guys who are not slouches and still bucking for a shot in the UFC.
If his next fight, for argument’s sake, against a Duane Ludwig-type turns into an epic and entertaining slugfest that he loses in thrilling fashion, do you let him go then or keep him by playing the but-he’s-a-fun-guy-to-watch card?
We will know precisely which direction the UFC is headed by how it matches Hardy next. A wrestler-type means it will be looking to cut bait and end the relationship. A standup guy means it still thinks it can get mileage out of “The Outlaw.”
Jason Probst can be reached at Jason@jasonprobst.com or twitter.com/jasonprobst.