Dan Hardy, who once fought Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title, knows the 170 pound division well.
The fight has courted controversy with the UFC in the past. Hardy, no longer employed by the promotion, recently expressed strong feelings about an upcoming bout between Nate Diaz and Khamzat Chimaev.
The UFC announced that Diaz, best known for his two bouts against Conor McGregor, will finish his current contract by headlining UFC 279 against the upcoming star, Chimaev.
Hardy went on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani and stated (at the 2:56:00 mark) that he believes the UFC is treating the veteran fighter unfairly. He feels it is primarily due to Diaz's desire to leave the promotion:
"It feels like we're getting to the point where someone should start thinking about pressing charges. It doesn't feel like a fair fight. It feels like a very, very cruel thing to do to someone that is a legitimate legend. Because they've spoken out against the organization, they're going to get executed live on TV."
Dan Hardy believes that Nate Diaz's criticim of the UFC led to Khamzat Chimaev bout
Nate Diaz, who has repeatedly accused the UFC of attempting to hold him hostage, will likely be competing in his last fight at UFC 279.
Dan Hardy feels that Diaz isn't getting a proper send-off in his last UFC event and that it will be bad for the promotion, stating:
"I think it's going to be uncomfortable to watch, and I think it's going to leave the UFC in a very, very bad light. And I just hope Nate comes through it alright, because I think he’s got good opportunities outside the UFC. It’s just a shame that they’re going to do this assassination attempt on him before he leaves."
Khamzat, who is a huge early favorite, seems to have no issues with the matchup. Although he is a heavy favorite and doesn't stand to gain much from a win, Khamzat seems excited to send Diaz to his UFC "funeral":
Dan Hardy, however, feels that the UFC is throwing Nate under the bus for wanting to leave. He implied that this strategy is normal for the UFC:
"I just feel very unfortunate that it’s happening,and that we can’t celebrate these fighters when they’re coming to the end of their career — but it’s the UFC’s style, isn’t it, you know? If they decide they’re parting ways with you, they try to damage you in every way possible. Unfortunately, if you’re a fighter and they want to damage you, they can actually physically do it, which is a shame."
Watch Hardy's appearance on The MMA Hour below: