With back-to-back losses and coming off the first knockout defeat of his career, Dan Hardy is in a must-win situation.
"I like to put that kind of pressure on myself because I always perform better," he told MMAjunkie.com during a recent media call. "I didn't do that in my last fight, and I ended up paying the price for it."
"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."
"I can't learn from my mistakes unless I'm kind of still living in that moment sometimes. As soon as the fight was over, as soon as my last fight was done, that Monday morning, I was back in the gym and sparring on Tuesday."
"As long as the fans are enjoying watching me fight, then I'm always going to have a place to punch people. I don't want to be the guy ... who got paid and wouldn't fight. That's not the kind of guy I am because I have a similar mentality to a lot of fans - If I'm getting bored (watching a fight), I'm like, 'OK, I'm going to run to the toilet until the next fight comes on ... It's like I need to be entertained. I mean, there are people in England staying up till like 3 a.m. to watch me fight. So I don't want a boring fight because I'll get f----- back in the gym."
One weapon Hardy took out of his arsenal for this fight is his usual trash-talking. The 28-year-old knows how to hype a fight, and his sound bites had become the stuff of legend. But against Johnson, a friend and former training partner, he knows it'd do little good anyway.
"Anthony never bites to that kind of stuff. He's a pretty chill guy. So I've just invested the energy into the training camp instead, and I'll just do my talking on Saturday night."
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