Hardy: The biggest fight of my career
I'VE just faxed back my signed bout sheet for the biggest fight of my career – a showdown with leading welterweight Mike 'Quick' Swick at UFC 105 at the MEN Arena, Manchester on November 14.
I had signed to fight a tough Korean judo expert named Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 105 and had started training for that, but on Friday I got a text from one of my coaches in Los Angeles saying UFC matchmaker Joe Silva needed to speak to me.
So I logged on to my computer and Joe had emailed "Kim is out, how about Mike Swick?" and I emailed back "Whatever you say".
Joe then actually called me and said I clearly didn't know what I was doing with my career because, if I did, I would have moaned and groaned about the change of opponent, how Swick's style is totally different to Kim's, demanded more money or basically given him a 1001 excuses why I couldn't take the fight.
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But my attitude is that I am a fighter. I've not been given any easy opponents by the UFC so far - and it's not my job to second guess them anyway.
Basically it comes down to a question: do I want to be the one in an elimination type of fight against a well respected fighter like Swick, would I prefer to watch from the sidelines as someone else gets that opportunity?
Paul Daley, one of my best friends, showed the way we do things at the Rough House. He was offered a very hard fight two weeks ago against Martin Kampmann, and he snapped the UFC's hand off grabbing the opportunity. Then he scored a first-round KO, just like he promised.
Ironically, Swick was supposed to fight Kampmann but pulled out hurt making way for Paul. Swick v Kampmann was supposed to be a final eliminator fight, but both Nottingham fighters are going to be the ones matching towards the title.
It is funny, when I wrote in my column in February that Nottingham is the centre of British MMA, some people laughed. Now, I think Nottingham is unquestionably the epicentre of elite level fighters in the UK - if not Europe.
I like Mike Swick, he's a top bloke. We did a PR tour of Germany together earlier in the year and we got on very well. He's a fun guy, good company and I really respect him for all the charity work he does with the Troops.
It was funny, when we were hanging out, playing X-Box, watching movies and stuff on this tour bus together in Germany for a week and yet would probably be fighting each other someday. That day is about five weeks away now.
I'm actually very excited about this next fight. Over 14,000 tickets have already been sold and the place will be buzzing.
Literally a few minutes before I turned my computer on to write this, I saw a comment from UFC boss Dana White saying the winner of this fight could get a shot at Georges St-Pierre!
The good news keeps on coming!
Fighter: Heavyweights series Saturday's at 11pm on FIVE USA channel. Daley v Kampmann this Sunday night, midnight, on channel FIVE