“It means everything to finally be at the pinnacle of mixed martial arts. Even kids who have never taken a martial arts class in their life dream about fighting in the UFCâ€“ it is the Premier League of MMA and there was nowhere else I wanted to be. I cannot wait to step into the Octagon and showcase myself on the biggest stage in MMA.
The plan was always to fight in the UFC when I felt I was 100% ready. But there were things I felt, as a fighter, I needed to work on before I made my UFC debut. I probably could have fought in the UFC before now, but I wanted to work on my skills, my BJJ and my wrestling. I have trained as a striker since I was six years old, but have really worked very hard on my ground game over the last four years, including working with Eddie Bravo out in the States, and I feel I’ve got one of the most well rounded games of any fighter in Europe.
I didn’t want to be in the UFC to make up the numbers. Reaching the UFC is an achievement in itself, of course, but after fighting in America and Japan, after having fought and beaten world ranked contenders in high pressure situations, I now feel my experience and ability is at a level where I can come into the UFC and not just have a few good fights, but really do things.”
Hardy, a Tae Kwon Do black belt, has won eight of his last nine bouts including his last three straight over Manuel Garcia, UFC-vet Chad Reiner, and Daniel Weichel.
He will make his UFC debut this summer.