According to an ESPN report, Dan Hardy (23-9-0) is poised to beat Chris Lytle (40-18-4) at the Aug. 15 UFC Live 5 event to reignite his faltering MMA career.
Just a short time ago Hardy was one of the UFC’s top prospects, but he has now dropped three straight fights, which puts him in jeopardy of being cut from the league if he loses to Lytle.
Hardy’s first four fights in the UFC made him one of the organization’s fastest rising stars, as he earned solid wins over Akihiro Gono, Rory Markham, Marcus Davis and Mike Swick to earn a title shot against middleweight champ Georges St. Pierre.
Fall From Grace
Hardy, 29, would go on to lose to St. Pierre in a unanimous five-round decision, but he held his own against the champ.
He escaped numerous armbars and simply refused to tapout, so his career didn’t take much of a hit from that fight.
However, he began to fall down the ladder of the UFC middleweight ranks after being knocked out by Carlos Kondit at UFC 120 and then losing a unanimous decision to Anthony Johnson.
Staying in the UFC
Losing three straight fights in the UFC always leaves a fighter at risk of being cut from the organization, so earning a win over Lytle is a must if Hardy plans to stay in the league long-term.
In Hardy’s UFC career, he has tallied only one win by way of knockout and the rest went to the judge’s scorecards. While he scored numerous knockout victories in his fights before switching over to the UFC, this perhaps brings into question his ability to put away elite level competition.
Hardy is a top drawing card in England, which is a market the UFC hopes to continue to expand into. That will certainly make it tough for Dana White to boot Hardy from the league, as he is a hugely marketable asset to the company.
Lytle is a well-known name with a wealth of experience and perhaps the most successful gatekeeper the sport has ever seen. Being a gatekeeper means having the skills necessary to compete in the league, but not quite having the tools to ever be a true title contender.
Lytle was on a four fight win streak before losing to Brian Ebersole at UFC 127, so keeping his job in the UFC definitely does not hinge on a win over Hardy. Lytle isn’t a huge drawing card, but he always puts on entertaining fights that are usually standup slug-fests. He has the skillset to take the fight to the ground, but Hardy will likely want to keep the fight standing. If Hardy beats Lytle, it means that he deserves to be in the UFC.
http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Dan-Hardy-10629, Sherdog fighter profile
http://www.ufc.com/event/UVS5#/fight/Dan-Hardy-Chris-Lytle, UFC Live 5