After detailing recently that he was hoping to cut ties with the UFC in regards to his fighter contract, one-time welterweight title challenger, Dan Hardy has officially been granted his release from the promotion following a thirteen-year stint. 

The Nottingham native had planned a return to active competition for the first time since September 2012 — after he was cleared to compete back in 2018 after his career was initially put on hold when he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

Announcing officially that he had been cleared to compete professionally again, Hardy had noted plans to enter the USADA testing pool in a bid to kick start his professional mixed martial arts career again.

Hardy, who featured prominently as a colour commentator and analyst particularly during the promotion’s international events, saw his broadcasting contract with the UFC terminated due to a reported “disagreement” with an employee from the organization earlier this year. 

Appearing on the Submission Radio podcast recently, Hardy explained that he was hoping to secure his release from the UFC, claiming that he was finding it difficult to put together a comeback fight, and even if he managed to score a hiatus snapping return, he doubts it would come against a fellow veteran, which would be his preference.

I’ve asked two different people for my release from the UFC because obviously with one contract coming to an end (broadcaster) it makes sense for me to leave with my fight contract as well,” Hardy said. “I’m currently trying to get my release from the UFC so then I can start looking at other places. I’ve got a few ideas, a few options that I’d like to consider. It’s just getting hold of someone. I might have to recruit Joshua Fabia to get someone’s attention at some point.

I think if it even got to the stage where I could get (the) UFC to give me an opponent, it’s not going to be one of the ones that I want,” Hardy explained. “They’re not matching veterans with veterans anymore. They’re matching veterans with the new guys coming up so they can build the next name. I’m not interested in fighting someone nobody knows. You want ‘Cowboy’ (Cerrone), Matt Brown. They would never in a million years give me the Nick Diaz fight. They’ll use Nick Diaz to build someone else up. I just don’t want to be in that situation. Plus, my fight contract is eight years old so you can imagine the numbers on it.

Confirming his official release to MMA Fighting today, Hardy detailed how he had been informed by the UFC that he was officially a free agent in a letter that he received on Tuesday night, and thus, is now eligible to field offers from other interested organizations. 

Prior to his release, Hardy had made it known that he was hopeful of securing a comeback in the not-too-distant future, earmarking potential showdowns against the likes of past foe, Carlos Condit, Donald Cerrone, Matt Brown, or even fellow former title challenger, Nick Diaz — who is long-speculated to make his return to the Octagon this year for the first time since January of 2015.

Attending UFC 261 in April, Diaz was, according to promotional president, Dana White set to meet with him backstage after the event to discuss a potential comeback. And while White claimed that the meeting was promising, he has since subsequently questioned Diaz’s desire to return to the sport

Just the amount of time that he’s taken off already,” White explained. “When you hear him talk about fighting, you hear him talk about the sport, and I sit down daily or talk to daily (with) hungry, young savages, they want to break into the top-ten, become world champions, all that stuff.Nick Diaz has done it all, seen it all, he’s been in big fights, I just don’t see that in him when I talk to him.

Echoing calls for a showdown against the elder Diaz brother, Hardy has called for White to release the Stockton veteran from his UFC deal if he is questioning his desire to fight again — suggesting a clash between the two under the Nobuyuki Sakakibara-led Rizin FF banner in Japan. 

If Uncle Dana (White) doesn’t think @nickdiaz209 (Nick Diaz) actually wants to fight, they should release him so we can fight on #Rizin in Japan,” Hardy tweeted. “Oldschool #PrideFC style. The #GoldenAge of #MMA.

Calling time on his career back in September of 2012, Hardy featured in a UFC Fight Night Nottingham homecoming opposite Amir Sadollah, taking home a unanimous decision victory.

The former two-weight Cage Warriors champion challenged Georges St-Pierre for the undisputed UFC welterweight championship back in March of 2010 at UFC 111 — suffering a unanimous decision loss. 

With a professional record of 25-10 — Hardy has scored notable career triumphs over the likes of Daniel Weichel, Akihiro Gono, Rory Markham, Marcus Davis, Mike Swick, and Duane Ludwig.

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Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.