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Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way: A case for the longshot, Dan Hardy

UFC 111, it is a fight like this that makes mixed martial arts the sport we all love. Hours of debate, pages of speculation, and hundreds of videos look at fights like this from every angle possible. One of the pound-for-pound greatest fighters in the sport up against the brash underdog from Nottingham, with both men enlisting the help of other UFC superstars to create the sort of fight that fans love to see and makes non-believers step closer to embracing the eight-sided cage.

While it is not a popular opinion and certainly spits in the eye of conventional wisdom, I firmly believe that Dan Hardy will win his bout at UFC 111 and take the belt from the waist of George St. Pierre.

There is no doubt that GSP is a very tall summit to best with a six fight win streak, while the only blemishes that currently stain his near perfect fight record are to Matt Serra and Matt Hughes, which George has rebounded from by beating Hughes twice and Matt once. Still contemplating a run at the Canadian Olympic Wrestling team, GSP certainly is the odds on favorite to win at UFC 111 and would certainly like to make that win in a stunning victory over the “Outlaw.”

Dan Hardy, on the other hand, plays the part of the spoiler. A brash brawler from Nottingham, England with a brown belt under Eddie Bravo and dynamite at the end of his arms, Hardy has made a name in the UFC after only four fights as a brawler. However, Dan is a much more complex fighter than what you may perceive at first glance. The man spent time with the Shaolin monks, as a cerebral game plan, and has been in the position as the underdog since his arrival in the UFC.

James Toney expressed it best on a recent episode of Inside MMA when he stated that “every fight starts standing up”, and it is standing up that Dan Hardy has his opportunity to spoil St. Pierre’s night. Every round that Dan gets through resets the fight and has the two men stand back up, and it is at that time when GSP has to cross the canvas and meet the “Outlaw” in the middle that he is highly susceptible to losing his belt.

Sure, GSP is training with Gegard Mousasi, Nate Marquardt, Kenny Florian, and Renzo Gracie – and that is a super camp, not to taken lightly – but all of these guys outside Mousasi have had problems with great strikers like B.J. Penn and Anderson Silva; which is the hole in GSP’s game and also where Dan excels.

In Sam Sheridan’s book “A Fighter’s Mind” he talks about Miyamoto Musashi and his “Book of Five Rings” as one of the greatest Samurai’s to ever live. “The Book of Five Rings” talks about the best ways to beat any enemy, and that comes down to tempo and rhythm. You see that in every great fight, the fighter who sets the tempo, controls the bout, and if Dan can set the tempo and keep GSP on his heels he has an excellent opportunity to be crowned the new welterweight champion of the world.

The great thing about fights like this is the debate it sparks. When the dust settles on Saturday night, fans like me and you will likely have enjoyed one of the best fights of 2010.

34 COMMENTS
  • Angry Mike says:

    If you have to resort to Shao Lin monks and samurai philosophy to make the argument, you probably don’t have an argument. GSP is light years ahead of Hardy in terms of skill and experience. There’s no way Hardy can stop GSP’s takedowns.

  • Newtothegame says:

    The only problem with this logic for me is that GSP’s wrestling is top-notch now and this leaves very little opportunity for Hardy’s lethal hands. But there is always a chance, I guess. I just hope for a good fight.

  • Waxeater says:

    I wonder if Eric is willing to put his money where his mouth is, ’cause I have a few bills that need to be paid off.

    While Hardy has a few TKOs in his record, he’s registered exactly two knockouts on his record since 2004, so I wonder where the myth of his “dynamite” hands comes from.

  • blue says:

    Am I suppose to believe Dan Hardy is so far and away dangerous that we cannot mention Thiago Alves in the same breath? Hardy is a great striker, but it’s not like this is the first great striker GSP has faced.

  • kellemonster says:

    It’s one thing to say that Hardy is a good buy at his current odds, it’s another thing to say he will “for sure” win. I don’t think anyone can say that with a straight face.

  • Dufresne says:

    I’ve failed to see a hole in GSP’s striking. He has 8 KO/TKO victories to his name out of 19 fights. Yeah he’s been relying heavily on his wrestling skills lately, but that doesn’t negate the fact that his original fighting style was karate which he started training in as a child. He may not have the power of Hardy, but I couldn’t say his standup game has holes in it.

    Even if it did, does it matter? I wouldn’t put Hardy’s standup over Thiago Alves’s, and I can’t remember The Pittbull ever landing a solid shot on GSP.

    Oh, and why is Hardy’s KO power so vaunted by the way? Yeah he’s got 11 KO’s, but against who? I went through his list and the only names I could find were some guy named Alexandre Izidro (record is 13-7), a bunch of guys I can’t find any fight history on, and Rory Markham who by the way has all of his 5 losses via KO or TKO. Not exactly a granite chin. His UFC record isn’t exactly stellar either; he KO’d Markham, pulled a split decision off against an older, smaller Marcus Davis, and got a UD against Mike Swick (who looked kinda sickly in that fight in my opinion).

    It’s not exactly like he’s been crushing P4P fighters with fists of steel.

    …. after that rant GSP better not lose this f-ing fight or I’m eating a truckload of crow.

  • Rece Rock says:

    GSP gets the WIN and the longest this fight is lasting is a round and a half and that’s being nice to Hardy.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Dufrense said it well as Hardy has good hands, probably above average power but no better than Alves and GSP took all he had and still tore through him. Anybody has a chance, sure, but realistically Hardy has very little if any.

  • beef says:

    I agree with Dufresne. Sure, it makes more drama by setting Hardy up as the striker and GSP as the wrestler but some perspective should be maintained. Shall we try to look at things somewhat objectively?

    1) Hardy’s best chance at winning the fight is in stand-up relying on his greatest weapon, his power. True.
    2) GSP has recently shown us repeatedly that he is a phenominal wrestler. True.
    3) Hardy’s stand-up is better than GSP’s? Hardy has more “dynamite” in his hands? Not definitive (being generous to Hardy here)
    4) Hardy brings a counter-punching style of stand-up that GSP hasn’t been proven against? Maybe.
    5) Hardy is strong in the mental game (where GSP has faltered in the past)? True.

    Clearly, GSP has the fight won on paper. He has many ways to victory while Hardy has 1 (maybe 2). Yes, each round must begin standing and each round gives hardy another (albeit small) chance to find GSP’s chin. A small but non-zero chance.

    Personally, I am most intrigued by Hardy’s mental game as a threat to GSP. He has stated that he plans to go for broke and bring it to GSP where someone like Alves was much more timid in his striking for fear of the takedown. If he can actually follow through with this plan, then I feel that he can maximize his (small) chance at victory. I look forward to seeing how Hardy reacts after a few takedowns/attempts. Is he mentally strong enough to stick with this all-or-nothing game plan?

  • bigbadjohn says:

    not a chance in hell. when referencing a fight against GSP, the saying goes ‘if theres a will theres a way… to make it out of the first round, maybe, hopefully, cross your fingers’

  • 3OAM says:

    The talk before this fight reminds me a lot of the talk before Silva vs. Griffin.

  • Rich S. says:

    I actually think Hardy has a great chance at winning..

    I wouldn’t have been caught dead saying that a month or two ago, but I’ve let it marinate a little more since then..

    Although a great striker, Hardy is easily one of the least talented guys that GSP has faced recently, and that certainly isn’t a put-down.. It’s just that Fitch, Alves, and BJ are far better than him..

    But, if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that every single time I’ve seen Hardy, he was considerably better than before.. So, I can only assume that he will be the best we’ve ever seen him against GSP.. I’m not so sure anyone on God’s green Earth can stop GSP’s takedowns, but maybe Hardy’s the guy.. Who knows.. Maybe he’ll catch GSP with a submission? I mean, Hardy’s biggest key to victory isn’t his size, or experience, it’s the ELEMENT OF SURPRISE..

    I’d be a fool to bet against GSP, but I sure as hell won’t be surprised if Hardy “shocks the world”..

  • Guthookd says:

    I don’t even think Hardy has done enough to deserve a shot yet.

    He will loose and he will bleed.

  • nope says:

    It’d be almost worth droppin 100$ on Hardy…just in case.

    Hardy is +500 right now.

  • Unabomberman says:

    Meh. It’s not like it is impossible for Hardy to win. His chances lie in GSP getting caught, plain and simple. And yet, a win is a win.

    Hardy has at least as good a chance as Alves did of catching GSP with one good strike (gotta give it to him–he has good aim). Emphasis on catching ’cause unless he clips him early on, we’ll not see domination on his part. And that also lingers on GSP’s ability on whether he can keep him down, outstrike him, or outwork him in the clinch.

    Seems to be all or nothing for this kid. Either he’ll knock GSP in any given exchange (unlikely but possible), out or he’ll be grinded to bits. I’d be surprised if he puts up a solid fight of attrition.

    Odds are not in Hardy’s favor, but at the end of the day that’s all they are: Odds.

  • redness says:

    I would have rather seen GSP vs Kos

  • bigbadjohn says:

    If using the thought process that being taken down is unavoidable when fighting GSP, My pick for ‘landing that shot’ before your body is too mangled to do so would be Jon Jones of 170, that is Anthony Johnson. those long limbs can throw hammers

  • Yourdaddydevilandlord says:

    GSP didn’t have a problem with BJ’s fists that last time out, since you put him in the discussion, or his ground game for that matter. GSP better rule Hardy’s ass.

  • ricksongraciebjjrocks says:

    I believe that hardy will have the mental advantage untill the end of round one when he realizes gsp is just way too much for him. And that will be all she wrote

  • crane_style says:

    A good effort to make a 5 to 1 underdog sounds like he has a chance of winning.

    However, there is a big flaw in your logic, besides some of the others people have pointed out. I recently watched Penn vs GSP #1 from ufc 58. After BJ poked GSP’s right eye, he hammered him from that side pretty badly in the 1st round.

    GSP took those punches, and his face got busted up, but as feared as BJ’s striking is, he wasn’t ever staggered.

    And in the Serra fight, which is the basis for most people believing GSP is vulnerable to a heavy punch, he got an illegal punch to the back of the head not once, but twice. So, the idea that GSP has a weak chin doesn’t really hold water for me.

    On the flip side, how much of a punch can Hardy take? I’ve only seen him fight a few times and don’t recall him being taking any real damage. This of course is a compliment, but it makes you wonder how he’ll deal with GSP’s striking?

    GSP put both Fitch and Alves on their *ss, and he knocked Matt Hughes senseless. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t think GSP isn’t going to take Hardy down, I think he will stand with him and show people how well rounded a fighter he truly is.

    How many times has George said he’s working on his legacy? He’s not trying just to win, but win impressively.

    Rich S. made a good point about Hardy improving and being able to surprise people. However, GSP is also still evolving as a fighter. His skill set is such that he has blown through the last guys he fought without much trouble. Perhaps he has been working on skills that he simply hasn’t needed to use.

    Scary thought, huh?

  • MCM says:

    I think there’s a good chance , 50/50, that Hardy can win this. Hardy is easily one of the the most intelligent fighters out there and that’s one thing GSP has not faced. Alves is a striker, Fitch is a wrestler, BJ now acts like a striker, ect. Most of his fights were against guys that had an obvious hole in there game, what will GSP do against a fighter that can win standing but is smart enough to figure him out on the ground too. I don’t want to take away anything from Georges past opponents (all of whom were arguably more deserving of their title shots) but I truly feel that Hardy is a different kind of fighter.
    I know that I am in a very small minority and that most people on this site (planet) disagree with me, but I still see Hardy pulling off the upset.

    Now everyone click the red button;)

  • Wow…Nicely put in the article Cory

    “UFC 111, it is a fight like this that makes mixed martial arts the sport we all love. Hours of debate, pages of speculation, and hundreds of videos look at fights like this from every angle possible.”

    and yet nobody mentioned that.

    I’m on the Hardy bandwagon. No I dont think he “earned” the shot but it’s either really quickly thrown together rematches or Dan Hardy and I’ll take Dan Hardy. Alves needs to fight a few more fights before he’s given his second shot and Fitch should’ve already gotten his shot by all means, but I nor anyone else wants to see that, just yet.

    There’s really no one else to throw at GSP and I think the UFC is hoping he’ll blow right through Dan Hardy so they can shelf GSP and use him as a poster boy till the next great WW challenger emerges. This all sounds familiar. Kinda what they did with the comeback, problem was Matt Serra didnt agree and I dont think Dan Hardy does either. Dan Hardy has proven he can get back to his feet and he does counter extremely well. His chin iron chin will be needed as Im sure GSP will hit him with all sorts of cool superman punch leg kick combos.

    AND THAT my fellow mma fans is where Im hopin Dan Hardy will catch GSP. When GSP goes for that spectacular victory and he tags Dan Hardy I hope The Outlaw eats the punch and throws a left hook that sends GSP’s mouthpiece into Dana’s lap, Just so we can see a little shakeup in the
    170 lb weight class.

    Hey it could happen.

  • mohawk009 says:

    MCM: I think there’s a good chance , 50/50, that Hardy can win this. Hardy is easily one of the the most intelligent fighters out there and that’s one thing GSP has not faced. Alves is a striker, Fitch is a wrestler, BJ now acts like a striker, ect. Most of his fights were against guys that had an obvious hole in there game, what will GSP do against a fighter that can win standing but is smart enough to figure him out on the ground too. I don’t want to take away anything from Georges past opponents (all of whom were arguably more deserving of their title shots) but I truly feel that Hardy is a different kind of fighter.I know that I am in a very small minority and that most people on this site (planet) disagree with me, but I still see Hardy pulling off the upset. Now everyone click the red button;)  (Quote)

    What exactly has Hardy done for you to believe that he is smart enough to figure out gsp on the ground?

  • Angry Mike says:

    Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling.

    I think the next line is something about being hauled away on a stretcher, but it’s not coming to me.

  • crane_style says:

    MCM: I think there’s a good chance , 50/50, that Hardy can win this.Hardy is easily one of the the most intelligent fighters out there and that’s one thing GSP has not faced.Alves is a striker, Fitch is a wrestler, BJ now acts like a striker, ect.Most of his fights were against guys that had an obvious hole in there game, what will GSP do against a fighter that can win standing but is smart enough to figure him out on the ground too.I don’t want to take away anything from Georges past opponents (all of whom were arguably more deserving of their title shots) but I truly feel that Hardy is a different kind of fighter.
    I know that I am in a very small minority and that most people on this site (planet) disagree with me, but I still see Hardy pulling off the upset.Now everyone click the red button;)  

    I like Hardy, and I think he deserves a shot, but how does he suddenly become an intelligent fighter? The some of the guys he’s beaten are decent fighters, but not exactly strategic masters. And no champions.

    How many title holders has GSP fought? If you think Dan Hardy is already a more intelligent fighter than Hughes or Penn or Fitch, I think I want some of what you’ve been smoking.

  • I would like someone to explain to me why, if Hardy has so much power in his hands that if he so much as lays a finger on GSP a KO will ensue, the “Outlaw” couldn’t finish off Marcus Davis or Mike Swick.

    The rumors of Hardy’s reputation as a knockout artist have been greatly exaggerated. He scrapped by split decisions over Gono and Davis and couldn’t finish off Swick.

    Honestly, if Serra hadn’t beaten GSP, this bout would be as much of a foregone conclusion as Penn/Edgar is.

  • MCM says:

    My impessions of hardys inteligence is based off what he says and writes out side the octagon. It’s just a feeling that hardy will win…,.nothing more

  • bigbadjohn says:

    Well i guess someones gonna come out and say they feel an upset so that the next day they can claim mad props. but looking at this fight objectively Hardys not better in a single aspect over GSPs previous opponents. is someone going to argue hes a better puncher than Penn or Alves?

  • moosebaby02 says:

    MCM: My impessions of hardys inteligence is based off what he says and writes out side the octagon. It’s just a feeling that hardy will win…,.nothing more  (Quote)

    i can sit down with you and go over in detail what it takes to be a GREAT quaterback, that doesnt make me the best qb or how to do any of what im preaching

  • moosebaby02 says:

    “While it is not a popular opinion and certainly spits in the eye of conventional wisdom, I firmly believe that Dan Hardy will win his bout at UFC 111 and take the belt from the waist of George St. Pierre.”

    right there is were i should have stop reading this crap. my own fault i guess

  • moosebaby02 says:

    bigbadjohn: Well i guess someones gonna come out and say they feel an upset so that the next day they can claim mad props. but looking at this fight objectively Hardys not better in a single aspect over GSPs previous opponents. is someone going to argue hes a better puncher than Penn or Alves?  (Quote)

    amen
    i love those “I told you so” guys

  • twyg says:

    This seems to happen every time one of the unbeatables is close to fighting; everyone looks for a way they can lose the fight. I will say out of all the unbeatables (Fedor, A.Silva, GSP, BJ in their respective divisions) GSP is the one I would say could most concievably lose. The only reason is because of the Serra KO. In all reality though GSP wins without a problem. Now that will make it an interesting fight because I felt the same way with Machida/Shogun (that fight is the reason Lyoto is not right now deamed an unbeatable in my book).

  • MCM says:

    moosebaby02:
    amen
    i love those “I told you so” guys  

    Don’t lump me in with those “I told you so” guys. I had a feeling Serra would be GSP the first time and a feeling Bj would beat GSP the second time. It’s always a 50/50 chance on whether any of us are right or wrong. If Hardy wins, good. I won’t come on here and tell you I knew he would ’cause I don’t Know. Anymore than the rest of you Know GSP will win. There’s always a 50% chance that he will loose.

    50% here is refered to 1 winner and 1 looser. I’m not saying that skill wise Hardy is equal to GSP.

  • Dufresne says:

    By that logic, my 12 year old sister could take down Fedor…

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