SEATTLE – In the hyper-competitive world of the UFC, two-straight defeats almost always leads to a release from the promotion.
Three-straight defeats? Don't call us, we'll call you.
At Saturday night's UFC Fight Night 24 event in Seattle, British slugger Dan Hardy (23-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) dropped his third-consecutive fight when he was toppled by fellow striking specialist Anthony Johnson. However, UFC president Dana White said "The Outlaw" won't necessarily be flying home with a pink slip.
"Not necessarily," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
). "We'll have to wait and see. I [expletive] love that kid."
Hardy debuted in the UFC on October 2008 and quickly racked up wins over Akihiro Gono, Rory Markham, Marcus Davis and Mike Swick. That lead to a March 2010 title shot with Georges St-Pierre. The Brit fought valiantly for five rounds but lost a unanimous decision.
This past October, Hardy faced former WEC champion Carlos Condit. Hardy, who readily admits he entered the cage with little regard for Condit, suffered a knockout loss when near simultaneous hooks were thrown, but "The Natural Born Killer's" reached Hardy's chin a fraction of a second sooner than the reciprocal shot.
At UFC Fight Night 24, Hardy expected to stand and bang with Johnson. While "Rumble" did trade in the opening frame, he quickly switched to a wrestling base and controlled the fight on the floor en route to a unanimous-decision win.
Hardy did not attend the evening's post-fight press conference, but he did post on his Twitter account that he was, "Disappointed and angry but physically OK."
Hardy remains a highly marketable commodity in his native England, and the Seattle crowd loudly cheered the Brit during pre-fight introductions. In fact, public sentiment seemed to shift further in his direction as the fight wore on based on Johnson's style.
An outright release of Hardy seems highly unlikely, so could the slugger find himself as the first fighter assigned from the UFC to its newest sister promotion, Strikeforce?
After all, following this month's UFC buyout of Strikeforce, White guaranteed Strikeforce fighters would not make their way to the octagon until their contracts expired, but he made no promise about talent flowing the opposite direction.
White declined to comment when asked specifically about the possibility, but said Hardy's supporters can take solace – at least for now.