Dan Hardy: UFC has too much wrestling

UFC welterweight contender Dan Hardy (23-7) wrote a recent column in the Notthingham Evening Post arguing that a growing number of MMA competitors in the Octagon are using wrestling to avoid fighting, and hurting the sport in the process.

In particular, Hardy references teammate Andre Winner’s decision loss to Nik Lentz at UFC 118, where Lentz relied on takedowns and ground control to secure the win.

Hardy’s column also responds to the criticism that British fighters lack the wrestling acumen to consistently remain among the UFC’s elite.

Rather than saying ‘oh, these guys can’t wrestle’, I think the problem is there’s beginning to be too much wrestling in UFC Octagon, not too little of it in the gym. There are a lot of people out there calling themselves ‘UFC fighters’ who are nothing of the kind. In the UFC, you should go for finishes.

The column continues…

This isn’t ‘cheating within the rules’ – it is actually against the rules. ‘Timidity’ is outlawed in the Unified MMA rules and what better describes the act of holding on to an opponent and waiting for the clock to tick down with no attempt or inclination to do any damage?

While Hardy points to the UFC 110 bout between George Sotiropoulos and Joe Stevenson as an example of a ground contest where both fighters did their job and tried to finish the fight, doesn’t the blame go both ways? Nobody wants to see a fighter stall and hold on desperately, but the best way to avoid that is good footwork, takedown defense, and a strong, active Jiu Jitsu game.

And what is Hardy’s solution?

The Athletic Commissions need to look at the scoring and refereeing to stop this from becoming a problem. If a guy is in a dominant position, but not actually doing anything offensive – stand ’em back up.

If he is consistently trying to tie the other guy up to avoid actual fighting – warn him and then start taking points. It is supposed to be a fight.

I certainly don’t disagree with his points. However, referees already have the power to stand up a fight when the man on top isn’t taking advantage of his position. And there have been times where judges recognized that the fighter on his back, not the wrestler on top, was winning the fight, Jeremy Horn’s victory over Trevor Prangley at UFC 56 being one example.

Maybe it’s worth coming up with a new scoring system that would allow for point deductions for stalling, similar to what happens in amateur wrestling. And there is no doubt that not all judges and referees are created equal. Nevertheless, the best solution to this so-called problem remains dictating the pace and deciding on your own where to take the fight.

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  • sEpPuKu (Eric Carl)

    First of all, I am a Dan Hardy fan, so what i am about to say hurts all the more: this isn’t boxing Dan! This is MIXED MARTIAL ARTS! Yes, that’s right – a mixture of every ‘martial’ art known to man. And yes, wrestling & jiu jitsu ARE ‘martial’ arts. If you wanna box, go box. Don’t talk smack about the rules the UFC has adopted. I long for the days of no time limits, no judges & very little referee intervention. Don’t want a guy to hold you down for twenty minutes? Then tap out or train on how to get out of that position. Dan, don’t be mad because fighters are good at negating your boxing – just deal with it & keep winning.

  • If these guys don’t like wrestlers than they can fight kick boxing or Shootboxing. It is just that simple.

  • Slopo the Kid

    Dan Hardy should know better honestly. He sounds like an unintelligent fan bitching about how they don’t like wrestling because its ‘boring’. He should appreciate it more as an mma fighter.

    However I don’t really care about that because I totally see how it could be frustrating. My main beef with this is that he is calling lay and prey wrestling. That isn;t what wrestling is. I agree that what Nick Lentz and JOn Fitch do is crap and they aren’t truly doing damage and shouldnt get the win.

    This isn’t wrestling its sitting doing nothing in a real wrestling match they would probably lose based on stalling points alone.

  • MMA is a sport. Winning is what matters. If you find it boring, you can watch something else. What Jon Fitch does is not “crap,” it is winning. How is pitching a shutout against one of the three best fighters at welterweight crap?

  • edub

    This pisses me off because it seemed like Winner’s lack of finishing instinct cost him the fight more than Lentz stalling. I’m not saying that Lentz didn’t stall and fight a boring fight because he did. It was god awful.

    But there were certain points when he tagged Nik. Once in the first and once in the second. He could’ve swarmed all over him in the first pretty easily. The second was a little more subtle, but he definately looked scared to commit. He’s got no one else besides himself to blame for the loss.

    As for Hardy, he and Paul lost to two of the three best wrestlers in the sport. A year straight of wrestling wouldn’t have made any difference.

  • John

    If Hardy could wrestle or had a ground game at all, he would not feel this way, period!

  • John makes a great point.

  • Good point EW. All the blame should not be placed on Lentz. Winner could not get any offense going, and that is his fault.

  • semtex hardy

    it sound like you pricks should be watching wwe not cage fighting .. never heard so much shite in my ..and as for the ufc you can keep your gay boy sport