Dan Hardy’s return to combat sports will have to wait.
The former UFC title challenger, who’s been teasing a return to fighting for many years now, recently told MMA Junkie that competing is no longer a priority of his and will be taking a back seat for the time being. The 40-year-old has several important things to handle at the moment, and fighting isn’t one of them.
“There’s nothing on the radar,” Hardy told MMA Junkie. “The Diego fight was disappointing because it was made and canceled, and then re-made and canceled, and then the third time, we were like two weeks out from the fight, and it was pulled again – so I’ve kind of partly taken the hint.
“I pulled back a little on my own training because Veronica (Macedo) is preparing for UFC London and that is the main focus for us now. I’m just excited to try and help build the PFL across the world and in Europe. That’s my main priority right now.
“I’ll always be ready to fight. That’s just me and my instincts and if the opportunity presents itself then yes, of course, I’ll consider it, but at the moment I got plenty of other things going on, and taking more of a coaching role as well.”
Hardy’s wife, Veronica Macedo, is making a return to MMA on March 18 at UFC 286 against Juliana Miller. Hardy is helping her prepare for the fight.
On top of that, Hardy has taken an analyst and ambassador role at PFL and has been working heavily with them, especially as they’ve looked to expand in Europe.
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Hardy hasn’t fought in over a decade. He was last seen in competition back in 2012 when he defeated Amir Sadollah in a decision UFC on Fuel TV 5. “The Outlaw” came close to making a return to fighting, as there were rumors of him boxing Diego Sanchez. However, the fight never materialized.
Now, Sanchez is scheduled to make his bareknuckle boxing debut on Feb. 17 against ex-boxing champ Austin Trout at BKFC KnuckleMania 3. Hardy thinks Sanchez is in for a rough night, but will be rooting for him.
“It would’ve been far safer to fight me in boxing, for sure,” Hardy said. “We were offered a bareknuckle fight as well, but we decided to go down the boxing route first.
“The difference is that Diego and I are MMA fighters and we both got an untidiness to our game that would make it fun, and we can both take a punch and don’t mind throwing a few. The difference is that Austin Trouts is a technician. The height of technical technicians.
“Diego has a lot of damage and scar tissue and I think we have to hope for his toughness and durability and potentially break his opponent’s hands and Diego can overwhelm him, but it’s a very risky fight. I feel like the technical deficit and scar tissue is going to work against him. I wish him the best. I do love Diego. He’s a lovely individual and a hard worker.”