Dan Hardy:’ There’s something within me that needs that last enormous UFC test’

The tranquillity of Dan Hardys post-MMA and UFC life is a world away from the barbarism of the world he used to inhabit. So, requests Donald McRae, why is he scheming a comeback?

My life to date has revolved around crusading, around my pursuing of impressing a boys jaw with the optimum rapidity, strength and timing to revolve his head, disrupt the grid of nerves and blood vessels connecting his mentality to his skull and yield him temporarily instinctive, Dan Hardy clarifies in his gripping journal about being an MMA and UFC soldier.

If you ask Hardy, who is now a commentator for the UFC and proposing an unlikely comeback in the Octagon, where he was five years ago, he will recollect being in a training camp before he made Duane Ludwig to sleep with a sharp-worded left hook in Vegas. Choose another time and I could be the fighter rising cautiously from the canvas or combating to keep the blood flowing from my pate back to my centre as my jugular vein and carotid route are shut by an forearm attempting to choke “peoples lives” out of me.

To an intruder UFC opposing can seem an hideou business which ends when a scarcely self-conscious soldier or maiden is pinned to the floor of a cage and pummelled into oblivion. Boxing devotees witter on instead about the gravitas of our preferred sport. We are helped that the sporting and political landmarks of boxing have been carved out by boxers as resonant as Jack Johnson and Joe Louis, Emile Griffith and Muhammad Ali. Hardy likewise stresses that an excellent boxing scribe in Paul Gibson facilitated him capture the nuances of his fighting life.

Yet if it was once easy to reject Mixed Martial Arts and its foolhardy standard-bearer in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, even blinkered boxing advocates have surrendered there are obligating and complex stories within this competitive boast. Conor McGregor, UFCs most outrageously successful boxer, is the obvious lesson; but Hardy is the more interesting man.

After a few hours with him it is difficult to believe he still catalogues his life in brutal markers. Hardy smiles on a sleepy morning in Leicestershire, looking around his home which is a beautiful altered old-fashioned church. It clothings his serene exterior as well as the work of his wife Lacey, an aerialist from Las Vegas, who contrives her acrobatics beneath the surging ceilings.

Fighting is a very small part of the person I am now, he relinquishes. I enjoyed that persona as a fighter with the blood-red mohawk. But “its just” one part of me. So its amazing how many people say: Oh, youre not what I expected. I suspect they remember that crazy person hollering at the camera and smiling when people were piercing him. But I dont seem defined by engaging now.

Hardy is immersed in conventional martial arts and, times before he cuddled the UFC, he applied his concede as a fine art student in Nottingham to travel to China so he had been able to train with Shaolin friars. He has since tried to open his sentiment by use psychedelics, particularly in ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru, where an Amazonian flower encourages modified positions of consciousness. It could be teased as another way of getting high but Hardy resounds pondering and insightful.

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Dan Hardy pushes Chris Lytle during a welterweight contest in August 2011. Picture: Josh Hedges/ Zuffa LLC/ Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Theres no end to sport, he answers, because you will never be the overall winner. You can only be successful for a certain period. I look at enormous novelists, musicians and creators who leave something behind that can be appreciated for generations. Whereas all Id lent up to that moment in my life fighting made me feel best available that was going to come out of it was a discussion between two guys over some brews. That wasnt enough.

I realised after the first trip to Peru I can chase the[ UFC] nature championship as much as I require. Even if I grab it and protect it 10 eras, at some part someone else will take my place.

Hardy likens the harsh line-up of his persona to a reptile and he always wanted to knock cold his foes rather than coerce a submission.

Thats because the fighting arena is a place of war. I too wanted to get to the pinnacle in the UK very rapidly so I knew if I could intimidate half the fighters by beating up the other half then that saves a lot of work.

Hardy has ended up in hospital after a fight; just as some of his rivals have also taken away from an arena in an ambulance. Did he seem hesitancy about combat-ready, then? The worst time was when my opponent was in infirmary after a fight in Japan. But the onus was on the publicity. They delivered me over the previous day the weigh-in which meant I didnt have enough time to cut weight properly. And then during the first round, when he was knocked down twice, the referees should have looked at him because he wasnt conscious the rest of the fight. But, as boxers, we all know the risks.

An awkward true for many boxing love is that, while UFC appears beast, it could be less detrimental. UFC soldiers might have blood streaming down their faces but that is less obses than the invisible damage done to a boxers psyche.

If were talking from a medical view MMA is likely safer, Hardy alleges. In boxing, if anyone is down, they get a 10 count. Theyre already concussed and that concerns me about boxing. MMA does get bloody as we elbow each other. But a lot of it just leaves bruises and stitches.

As a former No1 welterweight contender, who lost his title shoot to the renowned Georges St-Pierre in 2010 and is now the boasts most articulated commentator, Hardy highlights current realities of defeat in the UFC. I didnt suffer from nerves because I appreciated that winning and losing were part of my own experience as a martial artist. I desire boxing but one of the reasons I struggle with it is because I cant readily connect with a fighter who doesnt have a loss on his record.

Defeats are the most important crusades. Theyre the ones where you insure what a person is made of. A spate of the time you dont get to see that until a boxer is near the end of his career.

Every time I stepped out in the UFC I threw myself on the line. I was knocked out at the O2 Arena in front of my family and friends. For a fighter thats humbling; but its more humiliating when a fighter becomes pretexts. I much prefer a fighter that immediately reads: I will learn from this and be better next time. That makes me excited about encountering them again.

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Dan Hardy: the fighting arena is a place of war. Picture: David Levene for the Guardian

What does Hardy think of the proposed boxing match between McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr who might come out of retirement with his perfect 49 -0 preserve? I dont think it will happen. I would love it to and would watch it as a love. But it took five years old to get Mayweather-Pacquiao and theyre both boxers. Mayweather is a very smart businessman and he knows theres no respect from the boxing world-wide in thumping Conor McGregor.

But surely a simple engage, for so much coin, would appeal to a businessman like Mayweather? It would be easy money for Floyd but politics comes into it. Disagreements over business and the disagreement of the pocketbook brake it down.

Eddie Hearn recently told me a couple of his raw pro boxers would win McGregor with ease. I dont think thats fair, Hardy bars. It would take a good boxer to beat Conor because of his footwork and rapidity. Theres undeniable power in his left hand. But the give is the crack in his armour as a boxer. He overextends on it and hes able to do that because of the form of the octagon. The majority of his finishes are when theyre circling away from his left hand because he obliges them to the barrier so he was able to perforate across. Mayweather would dine him alive doing that. You saw how he exploited Ricky Hatton when he was in the area, and only rotated off that beautiful fasten. Conor is wide open for that.

Conors so successful in MMA applying boxing abilities because he specifies it up with his footwork. But if you take away his kicking and made him in a echo with possibly the best defensive boxer ever? And you add another four ounces to the gloves? Conor would have a slim chance.

McGregor can seem a cartoon persona in his illusion of bluster but as Hardy indicates, he is also a exceedingly cerebral soldier. Hell go back to taekwondo academy and work on conventional kicking or blaze bring in Ido Portal to facilitate his shift. Theres a very experimental and developmental area to Conor which is one of the reasons hes got so far.

Yet McGregors surreal lifestyle, and the contorting mirror of renown, is not helpful to a fighter. Youre privilege. I believe he is actually more a martial artist but has become a entertainer has brought most of his attention. So hes gravitated towards that now. Conor McGregor is one of the most recognisable people in the world now. If hes sauntering down wall street, there arent many people that wouldnt want to talk to him. So hes always in reputation. Its a facade.

But when he lost to Nate Diaz we got a very honest and intimate position. His post-fight interrogation was one of best available parts Ive interpreted because the mask dropped. He declared he misused his vigor and was overzealous. That indicates hes willing to deconstruct his flaws. Weve understood footage of him in his kitchen in Vegas with his boxing coach-and-four and theyre going through drills and you can see the childish enthusiasm on his appearance when hes memorizing something. Hes running: Oh, I got it wrong. Lets go again! That enthusiasm he has for martial art, for hear, gives him aside.

Amid his wider intelligence and interests Hardys own fervor for MMA abides undiminished. He might no longer characterize himself by campaigning but, aged 34, he is persuasion by a possible comeback. Hardy was forced to retire in 2013 after being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome which, in amateurs expressions, means he in effect has two heartbeats. It was reckoned, at first, that he risked congestive heart failure if he maintained campaigning. He has since been cleared to resume his vocation. But why would such a tranquil male return to raw duel?

Theres no replacement for it. Im still trying to understand that drive and to place it to one side or perhaps find another residence for it. Even if its only one engage I feel I need that close. It might end in defeat because Im not going to fight person easy. There would be no solace in that. So theres something within me that will not be stillness until I have that last enormous test.

Hardy smiles as he discovers an old-time soldiers mantra autumn from his own cheeks. I conceive I need to feel it one more time. But maybe that will change. I may start a training camp and think: I dont want this any more. Im done with it. But until I expect that theme I wont have the answer.

Dan Hardys Part Reptile: UFC, MMA and Me is available from the Guardian Bookshop

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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