Cage fighter Dan Hardy's exclusive blog
SOMETHING has changed with me, mentally. I've become a different kind of animal during this training camp. I am more aggressive in training, and not just in sparring.
I am able to push myself far harder in training than ever before and I am more "switched on" while doing drills or even sprints.
I feel I've taken another step into becoming the fighter I want to be and need to be in order beat the very best names in the UFC.
I've noticed something strange as well – I hadn't had my weekly "cheat meal" for three weeks!
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My "cheat meal" is the one meal a week – Saturday evening – where I allow myself to eat exactly what I want: pizza, Chinese takeaway with chips, chocolate, whatever. Even in my last training camp my whole week was centred around looking forward to my cheat meal.
But the other day, I realised I'd forgotten to have it two Saturdays running!
The only explanation I can think of is that, subconsciously, my "reward" for all the training I am doing is beating Mike Swick at UFC 105 next month, not a pizza or a chocolate bar.
I am completely focused on winning this fight in Manchester – I'm thinking about little else.
This next three weeks are by far the hardest part of the camp, and next week will be harder than this and the one after that – ugh! – not looking forward to it at all.
On Sunday I had to take the entire day off. I did absolutely nothing other than watch TV. I was spent. I came back stronger for it on Monday, though.
As I said last week, I am doing new things in this camp. One of them is a series of up-hill sprints. We do 12 x 100metre sprints up a steep hill, having to do each one in 30 seconds or less, and with only 60 seconds between them. It is hell on earth, to put it simply.
I go over to the park with Dean Amasinger and Jimmy Wallhead in the car and it is like we are on our way to the dentist as kids. We usually joke around and talk, but instead we are silent. It is that horrible a workout.
But all of it will be worth it when I step into the Octagon in the very best shape of my life and I do a number on Mike Swick.
I'm actually dreaming of the knockout.
Honestly, I cannot see Swick walking out of the Octagon without help from his trainers. I am not underestimating him at all. He will be in great shape himself and he's a hard fight for me.
But, the way I am in sparring, he's got no chance. I can't see what he's going to do to win.
At some point in this 15-minute fight he is gonna hit the deck so hard, he will feel the effects of that punch for weeks afterwards.
I've nothing against him, but he made a mistake taking this fight.
Finally, I just want to wish fellow Nottingham fighter Carl Froch the best of luck this weekend. I can't attend in person with it not starting until 2am and I need my sleep. But I will watch it first thing Sunday.