At the age of five years old, Dan began his journey into martial arts, beginning with Taekwondo, in which he competed in at the age of 7. The ‘Outlaw’ would go on to expand his knowledge of Martial Arts by adding in Karate, Jujitsu, and judo. Becoming a disciplined and well-rounded fighter. At the age of nineteen, Dan would go onto complete college and began training in Muay Thai. In 2002, Dan would decide to move into the world of Mixed Martial Arts.
Dan Hardy’s MMA debut came in 2004 against Lee Doski, where he would also suffer his first loss. The loss came in the second round by rear-naked choke. However, Dan Hardy would bounce back and go 19-6-1NC and picking up the Cage Warriors’ Welterweight and Light-Welterweight titles before moving to the UFC. Dan Hardy’s UFC debut came against Akihiro Gono at UFC 89 in Birmingham. The fight was a close affair and Dan was able to edge out a decision to go 1-0 in the UFC.
Dan Hardy would go on a great run in the UFC which saw Dan beating Mike Swick, Marcus Davies, and others which led him to fight for the UFC Welterweight Championship against one of the most dominant champions in UFC history, Georges St-Pierre. Going into this fight, Dan Hardy was a heavy underdog and it seemed the fight was over in the first round when the champion locked up a tight armbar attempt. However, Dan’s resilience wouldn’t allow him to quit and was able to hitchhike his way out of the submission despite this, St-Pierre would control the fight and win a unanimous decision.
After losing the fight against Georges St-Pierre, Dan would go on a four-fight losing skid, with losses coming against Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson and Carlos Condit. However, at UFC 146, Dan Hardy was booked to fight Duane Ludwig. Dan was able to finish the fight in the first round of their fight and was voted one of the best knockouts of 2012 on Tapology.
Dan’s last fight to date was in 2012 against Amir Sadollah, where he was able to win by unanimous decision in his hometown of Nottingham, England. Hardy would later be booked to fight Matt Brown, but an injury forced him out of the fight. Hardy hasn’t fought since.
Although Dan Hardy hasn’t fought in eight years, there is a sense that he may come out of retirement for a possible MMA fight against UFC Fighters, Donald Cerrone, or Anthony Pettis. Perhaps 2012 wasn’t the last time we see The Outlaw in the octagon fighting.
Despite no longer fighting, Dan Hardy has been a pioneer for MMA in the UK and continues to be involved with the sport, doing commentary on UFC events, presenting Cage Warriors events and also working alongside John Gooden, Nick Peet and Adam Catterall for UFConBTSport.