UFC on Fuel TV 5: Is Dan Hardy's Job Safe If He Loses to Amir Sadollah?

McKinley NobleCorrespondent ISeptember 28, 2012

Dan Hardy has one of the worst UFC records in last three years. Can he really afford another loss?
Dan Hardy has one of the worst UFC records in last three years. Can he really afford another loss?Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Out of 20 fighters competing this Saturday in the UFC on Fuel TV card, Dan Hardy has the worst record in his last five fights.

Although he won his most recent brawl against fellow slugger Duane Ludwig, it wasn't a fight made to advance Hardy up the rankings or get him back into the title hunt.

Essentially, all it did was give Hardy's win-loss ratio a small bit of breathing room.

Single-win streak aside, that still doesn't change some particularly damning facts:

  • In the last three years, Hardy has posted a 1-4 record in the UFC
  • Out of all George St. Pierre's former title challengers, Hardy is currently the lowest-ranked (active) welterweight
  • Hardy was almost the second fighter in UFC history to lose five straight fights

Although 'The Outlaw' had the good fortune of losing an exciting "Fight of the Night" battle with Chris Lytle, that hasn't stopped some fans and critics for noting the supposed unfairness of Hardy's extensive lifeline with the UFC brass.

But even though the British standout remains a company favorite, can he afford to lose to Amir Sadollah—especially in his hometown of Nottingham, England?

Of course, no UFC fighter can really afford to lose a fight. But most main event players like Dan Hardy get extra leeway that other fighters, like "one-and-done" preliminary talent and mid-tier journeymen, simply don't have.

Question is, how bad will it look if Hardy loses to the comparatively under-experienced Sadollah?

Considering that Sadollah, the heavily-promoted Ultimate Fighter wunderkind, is little more than the UFC's welterweight gatekeeper, it would look awful if Hardy found himself losing a tepid split or unanimous decision, trapped on the wrong side of volume leg kicks and superior grappling.

Where Hardy at least had the option of suffering an exciting loss if he came up short against Ludwig, the strong-but-middling Sadollah represents no such upside. If Dan Hardy loses on Saturday, he'll run the risk of looking terrible in the process.

Make no mistake, the UFC would love it if Hardy came blitzing out of the gate, belting Sadollah with hard shots, and fighting him off in the clinch. Nothing would get the Nottingham crowd more riled up, and it would generate more cheers than the main event.

Moreover, Sadollah is just flawed enough that Hardy could dominate him. But if he loses, don't expect Dana White to entertain the thought of cutting one of their most popular international faces.

Make no mistake, Dan Hardy should be able to beat Amir Sadollah. After all, he hasn't legitimately lost to a welterweight outside the division's "top 25" since 2006. At the very worst, it would most likely take another four-loss streak before the UFC brass ever considered dropping him.

[McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist and FightFans Radio writer. His work has appeared in GamePro, Macworld, & PC World. Talk with him on Twitter.]