“A warrior must be an artist, a musician and a poet‚ . because if you are not then you will be entirely focused on one thing, and that’s not sustainable. ” – Dan HardyIf our last conversation with Dan Hardy was remarkable because of Dan’s honesty and vulnerability, this episode will be just as memorable for how much Dan has grown in recent years. Last time we talked Dan was still waiting to hear if he was to become the UFC commentator in the UK. Now he is effectively the face of the organisation this side of the Atlantic. That same raw, uninhibited honesty that made the last meeting we had so legendary, is still to be found in Dan. Only this time, his powers of analysis and self-awareness have grown incredibly. The benefits of no longer having the pressures of competing, plus the chance to observe the sport he loves from a close distance, have given Dan new perspectives on the UFC and his own career as a fighter. We talk about his journey as an MMA fighter, and the conversation quickly turns to George St. Pierre, the legend of the sport who beat Dan decisively after a gruelling 25 minute battle. Needless to say Dan came away from that fight with his dignity in tact, but he admits he was always on the defensive. There is the cliche of the former fighter, alone in a bar complaining about how he never got the shot he deserved. Dan is about as far away from this cliche as it is possible to get. As far as GSP goes, Dan has nothing but respect for the man, and he has an almost zen attitude looking back at his fight with the champion. It couldn’t have happened any other way, according to DanHe now seems to regard to GSP as a teacher, and the fight itself as a pivotal moment in his own evolution, personally and professionally. A good example of Dan’s development as a fight analyst is the distinction he keeps making between a fighter and a martial artist. Dan had the privilege of being part of GSP’s training camp, and has developed a relationship with the man, especially since the champion called it a day. Dan says that GSP has become a far better martial artist since giving up competitive fighting, and he says the same for himself. The truth of the matter is, Dan is now a kind of scholar of mixed martial arts. It is no longer about winning or losing. Dan is far more interested in the psychology of fighting, and the technical achievements of a fighter whether they win or lose. Dan has come to love all forms of controlled movement, and is less interested in results. We also talk about Conor McGregor, and Dan has a little more of an objective view of the champion than everyone else. Viewed purely on a technical basis, Dan is sceptical about McGregor’s decision to compete at a higher division, thoughDan recognises the contribution the Irishman has made to the sport. Fighting isn’t the only focus of this conversation. Dan talks about his experiences sailing from London to Rio – a story which is much closer to the kinds of adventures James Ketchell would get up to, rather than a UFC fighter! We also talk deeply about psychedelics, and the effect his open use of Ayahuasca has had on his career. This is the Dan Hardy we know and love, but his inner world has gone through so much transformation. As the UFC itself evolves into an ever more sophisticated art form, Dan seems to have changed with the sport. Dan talks about living in the moment, the importance of doing things for their own sake rather than just to win. He has truly become an all-round warrior, and it was pleasure to spend two hours with a great fighting mind, and a kind, thoughtful and totally congruent individual. The Outlaw is back!