Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy: Top 5 MMA Finishes

Dan Hardy, (aka “The Outlaw”, born 17 May 1982, is an English mixed martial artist from Nottingham and is a former UFC title challenger, and Cage Warriors champion. Hardy (39), holds a record of 25-10 and the unofficial title of the best fighter introduction given his interactions with ring announcer Bruce Buffer.

“The Outlaw” is a pioneer of MMA in the UK and was the first British fighter to get a shot at a UFC title, and despite falling short, Hardy paved the way for many after him. On his MMA journey, Hardy defeated several notable opponents such as Duane Ludwig, Mike Swick, Rory Markham and Marcus Davis.

The most dangerous aspect of Hardy’s fighting style is his technical striking combined with legitimate one-punch knockout power! Demonstrated by nearly half of his wins, (12) coming via TKO/KO, and a signature often seen in Hardy’s fights, is his lethal left hook that Rory Markham is well familiar with.

However, Hardy is no slouch on the ground either holding a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after extensive of training at 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, who teach a very unique style of grappling, and this submission game is responsible for 4 of his wins.

Hardy’s MMA career started in 2004 with a bitter start losing his professional debut via submission; however, he got his professional win later on in the year and put together a 2-fight win streak. Hardy suffered his second defeat against the more experienced Pat Healy who himself would go on to fight in the UFC, but again Hardy would show his character and would win 3 straight since his loss.  

“The Outlaw” would lose for the third time against David Baron via triangle choke; however, this would spur him to go undefeated in his next 7 fights picking up the vacant Cage Warriors Welterweight title during this run against Matt Thorpe via split decision.

After going 7 fights undefeated, Hardy took a step outside Cage Warriors and explored different organizations but, in doing so, went on a 2-fight losing streak losing to Forrest Petz and David Baron before returning to Cage Warriors. 

“The Outlaw” would win his next 2 fights on his return to Cage Warriors before leaving once again to fight in Japan in the Cage Force Welterweight tournament, where he would make it to the final but lose against Yoshiyuki Yoshida due to an accidental groin strike.

Hardy returned to Cage Warriors just 7 days following his DQ loss, stopping Manuel Garcia in his tracks in round 1 to go on and win his final fight in Cage Warriors against Chad Reiner.

Hardy had been offered a UFC contract but, prior to entering the UFC, he took on Daniel Weichel. With his UFC contract on the line, Hardy made sure to clinch it with a second round TKO giving him a 3-fight win streak going into the UFC.

Hardy burst onto the UFC scene, going on a rocketed 4-0 start and defeating Mike Swick in a title eliminator, winning the opportunity to fight the legend Georges St-Pierre where Hardy lost via decision. Since losing to GSP, Hardy went on to lose 3 fights straight against Carlos Condit, Anthony Johnson and Chris Lytle, taking his losing skid to 4.

In May 2012, Hardy was searching for his first win in over 2½ years and would find his win against Duane Ludwig, where he would score the Knockout of the Night in a first round victory. In September 2012, Hardy took part in his last professional fight to date against Amir Sadollah in his hometown of Nottingham, England, where he won via a round 3 unanimous decision.

In 2013 Hardy was diagnosed with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, which sidelined Hardy from fighting, but in 2018 he was medically cleared to fight, and recent rumours have been circling of Hardy’s return to some form of combat, either MMA or boxing.

Since being out of competition, Hardy continued to grace the MMA world as he displayed excellent commentary skills under the UFC and also his unmatched technical fight breakdowns for the UFC, BT Sport and his own blossoming channel, “Full Reptile”.

Hardy’s own channel has a variety of aspects with fight breakdowns, predictions, behind-the-scenes of fight weeks, and a new series of life within Rough House / Hardy-Wallhead MMA, which gives insight into a fighter’s preparation and life inside a training camp.

In early 2021 Hardy had severed ties with the UFC as a commentator and analyst, and later on in the year announced he had been released of his ongoing fight contract and is free to fight, expressing his interest in fighting in Asia and potentially joining RIZIN or ONE Championship. This leaves the question, who would you want to see Hardy take on in his comeback fight?

Now that you have a background into “The Outlaw’s” career, let’s take a closer look at Dan Hardy’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)

5. Vs. Andy Walker – CWFC: Quest 1 (April 8, 2005)

On a 2-fight win streak, since his loss to the experienced Pat Healy, Hardy looked to make it 3 against Andy Walker, and it would only take one round to do so.

At 28 seconds in, Hardy throws a head switch kick, and you can hear the THUD! as the kick lands, prompting Walker to shoot for a takedown, but Hardy sprawls well and is able to defend. However, there is a break in the action due to a groin strike from Walker.

As the action resumes, Walker is able to land a takedown and looks to go for an armbar but gives up his position – here, Hardy is able to reverse him and take top position.

Once taking top position, Hardy grapples for position before posturing up and firing down ruthless hammer fists, and a straight left that knocks Walker from his senses – this is followed up with impressive ground and pound strikes to get the job finished at 3:26 of round 1.

Hardy had now taken his winning streak to 3.

4. Vs. Daniel Weichel – Ultimate Force: Punishment (May 3, 2008)

Going into this fight, Hardy had his dream on the line with a win guaranteeing a 4-fight contract with the UFC and, as you can probably imagine, he was sure to deliver.

In round 1, at 30 seconds in, a big overhand right from Weichel connects, and he capitalizes, clinching Hardy, forcing him to the fence and managing to get him to the floor before quickly taking his back.

Weichel continues to control Hardy and keep him on the floor for the first 4 minutes of the fight, yet despite the control, was unable to land any significant strikes. Eventually, Hardy was able to get back to his feet with just over 30 seconds left in the round; however, the grappling appeared to have taken a toll on his energy reserves, and his UFC dream looked to be slipping away.

In round 2, Hardy comes out throwing a variety of kicks and begins to up his output, causing Weichel to shoot for a double leg takedown just 20 seconds in, being able to complete the takedown attempt at the 1-minute mark. However, Hardy uses an underhook to rock Weichel back and forth and gets a sweep, taking the top position.

Now The Outlaw starts his own onslaught as he begins to fire down elbows. The fight is quickly stopped at 1:49 of round 2.

After a very tough first round and his UFC dream becoming bleak, Hardy dug deep and burned with vengeance in the second round, he wasn’t about to be denied securing his UFC contract.

3. Vs. Aaron Barrow – CWFC 9: Xtreme Xmas (Dec. 18, 2004)

After suffering a defeat in his fourth professional fight to Pat Healy, former UFC fighter and Titan FC Champion, Hardy sought to get back to winning ways against Aaron Barrow and would do so in style, needing just 13 seconds to get the job done!

In round 1, Barrow plodded forward, and within 4 seconds, is met with a crushing, left high kick landing flush on his jaw (that lifts Barrow off his feet) as he drops to the canvas. Hardy quickly reins down blows in a flurry of destruction, as the referee is forced to call the fight, at just 13 seconds of round 1.

Hardy showed how he’s able to bounce back after a loss, earning the quickest win of his professional MMA career, (a very respectable time even by today’s standards) of just 13 SECONDS!

2. Vs. Rory Markham – UFC 95 (Feb. 21, 2009)

UFC 95 took place in London, England, and Hardy would co-main event the fight card in just his second appearance with the UFC. With Hardy having a home country advantage, he would look to make it count against the American Rory Markham, who was coming off a Knockout of the Night Performance from his last fight.

In round 1, Markham comes out pressing as Hardy is on the back foot appearing happy to play the counter striker, but at 40 seconds in, Hardy is caught by a big left hook, yet he seems to cope with it well.

Hardy continues catching Markham with his spearing jab, and at 1:05 is caught by a grazing right, but doles out his signature left hook which decks Markham to the floor. He seems to still be conscious but is in no fit state to fight back.

Hardy quickly finishes off proceedings with a straight right as the referee jumps in to call the bout at 1:09 of round 1.

So, in just 69 seconds, Hardy finishes the job in picture-perfect style as the London crowd erupts, celebrating his first UFC career finish.

1. Vs. Duane Ludwig – UFC 146 (May 26, 2012)

After a 4-fight losing skid, Hardy took on Duane Ludwig to try and get his first win since 2009, almost 3 years earlier. It would only take one round for Hardy to get back into the winning column.

This matchup faced off two great MMA brains; Duane Ludwig a championship-level MMA coach, and Hardy, one of, if not the best MMA analyst of the game.

In round 1, both fighters meet in the middle of the octagon and begin to feint heavily, analyzing each other’s reactions whilst jockeying for centre position.

At 50 seconds in, Hardy double jabs into range but is caught by a straight right counter, causing him to clinch and force Ludwig to the side of the cage. At 1:45 in, as Hardy exits the clinch, he lands a huge, right elbow, and straight left which buckles Ludwig.

At 2:55, Hardy lands a firm jab but falls into a Thai clinch. Ludwig tries to control Hardy’s head, but Dan breaks the grip as he drops down for a takedown against the fence, which is defended well, as they both separate from the clinch.

At 3:45 in, Hardy looks to feint a jab which at the last second changes to a left hook, a staple of Hardy’s career, sneaking around Ludwig’s guard and dropping him to the canvas.

Hardy seems to prematurely celebrate as he briefly lifts his arms in glee, but quickly recognizes that the job is not done yet – he jumps into half guard and thrusts down lethal elbows that separate Ludwig from conscious at 3:51 of round 1

Hardy’s redemption win was made that much sweeter as he also won a $70,000 Knockout of the Night bonus.

So, there we have it, folks, 5 of Dan Hardy’s best MMA finishes!

The question simmering on the minds of many Hardy fans is when, with who, and where, will he make his comeback, and will it be in 2021? Where would you rank Hardy among MMA welterweights? What’s your favourite “Outlaw” fight moment from the list above?

…And which fighter should be KFK’d next? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

WHETHER YOU’RE AN “OUTLAW” OR AN “OUTLIER”, RIDE RIGHT ON AHEAD INTO THE KINGDOM of FU with our Top 5 MMA series, including Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Top 5 pre-UFC Finishes, The NEW Lightweight King of 2021, The Rise of Chinese MMA Fighters, check out what’s on the mind of Leon Edwards, as well as our exclusive ONE Championship interviews with Brandon Vera, Eduard Folayang, Thanh Le, and Martin Nguyen.

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Joe Petrozzi is currently studying Sports and Exercise Science in his final year at Staffordshire University. He is interested in all types of martial arts combat, and has been since a young age after his dad introduced him to MMA. He is specifically engrossed with the psychology of being a fighter and the mind of a combat athlete.

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