Former UFC welterweight contender and title challenger, Dan Hardy, has claimed that with just a single exhibition boxing match against Diego Sanchez this summer – he will have eclipsed what he earned in his entire Octagon tenure in terms of fight purses. 

Hardy, who recently agreed to meet with fellow UFC alum and one-time lightweight title chaser, Sanchez in a summer exhibition boxing match in Manchester, most recently competed in a professional capacity on home soil at UFC Fight Night Nottingham 10 years ago, defeating Amir Sadollah with a unanimous decision win.

The former promotional color commentator and analyst had been campaigning for fights with the likes of Donald Cerrone and Nick Diaz in the UFC before cutting ties with the organization, as well as a boxing match against former welterweight titleholder, Tyron Woodley – and a kickboxing fight under the ONE Championship banner against John Wayne Parr.

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Dan Hardy meets Diego Sanchez in a July 2. exhibition outing in Manchester, England

Penning terms on a eight round boxing match against Sanchez in July on the undercard of another high-profile exhibition bout between former world champions, Ricky Hatton and Marco Antonio Barrera, Hardy has claimed that he will eclipse his entire earnings in a four-year tenure with the promotion, in just one outing against Sanchez this summer.

“The honest trust is this is a good middle ground financially, because what we were being offered for MMA was pitiful, and what was being offered for bare-knuckle was three times what we were being offered for exhibition boxing,” Dan Hardy told MMA Fighting during a recent interview. “I could either fight him (Diego Sanchez) in MMA, and we’d have a to fight four of five times to make the same money, or I could fight him in bare-knuckle and do lots of really serious damage to him.” 

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“I’m fighting him in 16-ounce gloves over two minute rounds,” Dan Hardy explained. “Most likely, I’m going to stop him with shots to the body, and he’s going to remember going down to the canvas. I’ve got no interest in brutalizing Diego Sanchez, but we’re going to have a hard sparring match, and I’m going to try and hurt him as much as I can without doing permanent damage, and we’re both going to walk away with a lot of money in our pockets.”

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“We’re not going to have to worry about the sh*t we got paid by the UFC,” Dan Hardy said. “So this is a big turning point for both of us, and I think he’s just as grateful for this opportunity as I am… You could add all my paychecks together from the UFC and I’m still making more doing this.” 

Slumping to his second straight defeat back in March, Sanchez made his first outing under the Khabib Nurmagomedov-led, Eagle FC banner – dropping a unanimous decision loss to one-time interim UFC lightweight title challenger, Kevin Lee in a headlining bout. 

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.