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Dan Hardy

Dan Hardy was manhandled for three rounds at UFC Fight Night 24 and lost a unanimous decision to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, 30-27 on all cards. That’s three bad losses in a row for “The Outlaw”. Will Hardy keep his job in the UFC, and if so is he relevant in the welterweight division?

For other fighters, three straight poor performances might cinch their dismissal from the UFC. But the cocky Hardy is a character, and more importantly still a draw. Unfortunately for Hardy, these days the best parts of his game all come before the fight.

Hardy still excels at pre-fight chatter, although he toned it down for this bout. His introduction by Bruce Buffer is always entertaining, and Hardy showed excellent timing in flashing his “England” mouthguard in sync with Buffer’s call. The hair continues to look great. But other than that Hardy hasn’t brought much into the Octagon for quite some time.

He hasn’t won since November of 2009 when he defeated Mike Swick. Hardy had three wins before the Swick fight. None of those fighters — Marcus Davis, Rory Markham and Akihiro Gono — are currently on the UFC roster. And his last three fights have been lacking, both in excitement and execution.

Hardy showed grit in not submitting to GSP, but never mounted any offense in that fight. Condit beat Hardy at his own strength, brutally knocking him out near the end of round one in their fight. And last night against Johnson, Hardy’s offense was non-existent. Check out the FightMetric report:

Dan Hardy vs. Anthony Johnson

Hardy landed just 10 strikes in the fight, only two of them significant. He exhibited little movement, which made him an easy target for Johnson’s takedowns. Hardy was repeatedly taken to the ground by Johnson, and could not doing anything on his back. He kept trying for a Kimura, but he was never truly in position to execute the hold. Instead it served as a way to defend the ground and pound from Johnson, which did enable him to survive at times.

In fact, at this point in his career the best part of Hardy’s game is his submission defense, powered by his grit and determination. Johnson had Hardy in an arm triangle and a neck crank, but Hardy did not tap in either instance.

So while Hardy is likely to remain on the UFC roster, his relevance to the promotion has decreased to a regional draw. He’s not a contender and not even a gatekeeper right now. If you run through the welterweight division there really isn’t a fight that stands out or makes sense for Hardy right now.

Hardy told MMA Junkie, “I’ve kind of put myself in a situation and mindset where I’m fighting for my job. That’s the worst place that I could possibly be in for my opponents because they’re going to get everything that I’ve got and a little bit more … I’m going to prove that I belong in the UFC and I’m staying in the UFC.”

It will be interesting to see who he gets next, if anyone.

About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is the former play-by-play announcer for the XFO and other organizations, and he has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided, and more.

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