After the rather unexciting fight card of UFC 110 this weekend’s event features a Welterweight title fight between Canadian George St.Pierre and Dan Hardy from Nottingham. On the surface it seems as though Hardy will simply be just another victim for GSP, as he is relatively untested in the UFC. But Hardy is dangerous, he’s an athletic busy fighter, very strong standing up with plenty KO power. He has spent time training with Freddie Roach to improve his ‘hands’, and by the looks of it his timing too. He has also shown he is patient and calm under pressure, winning a number of fights by decision.
Hardy seems to think GSP will go ‘hard at it’ until he gets hit with something too big to handle. Hardy likes to trash talk and says he likes to let his opponent know he’s up for the fight and the night won’t be easy. This has worked before, he certainly had Marcus Davies rattled pre-fight, but interestingly Hardy reckons that GSP has got in his own head. I think GSP is far too cool to be affected by any trash talk, and with experience on his side is pretty unlikely to under any more pressure than before.
St.Pierre says he’ll be taking the fight to Hardy, dictating the pace and won’t be taking punches to land his own. That will be difficult standing up as Hardy is very good and can trouble GSP, if he decides to keep it standing. If Hardy has in him trouble he’ll switch to wrestling.
Hardy’s groundwork is a bit of a mystery, although he has spent time training with Eddie Bravo he is unlikely to be able to cope with GSP on the floor. St.Pierre, despite losing to them first time round, was able to easily take down both Matt Hughes (excellent wrestler) and Matt Serra (BJJ black belt), dominating them both. Hardy won’t be in the same league as these two on the ground and so shouldn’t be too much trouble for GSP in that respect.
While Hardy has been consulting Serra for tips, his chance lies in his stand up skill and KO power, which is better than Serra’s. Obviously he has to avoid being taken down and get up if he does. GSP learned the lesson of underestimating an opponent (first fight with Serra) and says he isn’t doing so with Hardy but in the same article he talks of winning in a ‘beautiful fashion’. If he gets caught up in attempting to win with beautiful technique he’s playing with fire. He won’t be able to toy with Hardy in the stand up, if he starts going for the lovely roundhouse KO, Hardy will be in with a very good chance. But he’d better take that chance sharpish as GSP will switch to a ground strategy which will most likely be too much for Hardy.