Fans flock to Hardy after loss

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:17 PM ET

LAS VEGAS -- It's one thing to gain new fans from an impressive knockout or submission victory, but it's rare that a fighter increases his popularity with a losing effort.

However, Dan (The Outlaw) Hardy admits his profile has gone up since dropping a unanimous decision to welterweight champion Georges (Rush) St. Pierre at UFC 111.

"I went to Disney Land after the fight and was getting stopped four or five times a day," Hardy (23-7) said. "I'm just not used to it."

Though St. Pierre (20-2) used his wrestling skills to dominate the five-round affair, Hardy showed a ton of heart for refusing to submit to armbar and kimura attempts. The submission holds appeared to be locked in, but Hardy didn't quit.

"The armbar, I used a lot of movement to keep him from locking my arm," Hardy said. "The kimura was tight, but I have a really flexible shoulder. Or if I didn't have a flexible shoulder, I do now.

"I don't tap. If that's what other fighters want to do, that's cool. I tapped a few times earlier in my career and it just stayed with me. It's not that I lost. It's not that I got beaten. It's that I could have kept fighting."

Hardy said it was a tough loss, but he will use the experience to become a better fighter.

"I went into the fight with the wrong game plan," Hardy said. "I went in there trying to cancel (St. Pierre's) wrestling and make him strike with me.

"I learned a lot from that fight. It was a 25-minute lesson."

Rumours have been circulating that Hardy's next opponent will be Carlos (Natural Born Killer) Condit, who scored a big come-from-behind TKO victory over B.C.'s Rory MacDonald at UFC 115 in Vancouver. However, Hardy said nothing has been signed.

"The speculation is Carlos Condit," Hardy said. "If that comes to me then that would be an awesome fight."

Though Hardy needs to work his way back up to a title shot, he will be paying close attention to the championship bout between St. Pierre and Josh (Kos) Koscheck later this year. Those two fought once before, at UFC 74 in August 2007, with St. Pierre defeating Koscheck (15-4) by unanimous decision.

Despite a strong dislike for Koscheck, Hardy feels the result could be different this time around.

"I've been asked the question quite a lot," Hardy said. "It could go one of two ways because last time Koscheck assumed he couldn't get taken down. so he didn't focus on his wrestling. Now he realizes that he can be taken down, so he went back to his wrestling. I can see him defending GSP's takedowns, which means it might possibly be a stand-up fight. Then it's anybody's fight.

"It's either going to be a stand-up fight and one of them gets knocked out, or it will be 25 minutes of spooning."


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