Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full contact combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques and skills, from a mixture of martial arts traditions and non-traditions, to be used in competitions. The rules allow the use of both striking as well as grappling techniques, both while standing and on the ground. Such competitions allow martial artists of different backgrounds to compete......
Welterweight Dan Hardy took a two-week trip to Peru following his win over Duane "Bang" Ludwig at UFC 146 and got some much-needed time for quiet reading and meditation.
And after using the extremely potent hallucinogen and traditional medicine ayahuasca, Hardy learned some things about himself, too.
"All the experiences that come with the ayahuasca was just mind-blowing," Hardy on Wednesday told MMAjunkie.com Radio(www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "Really changed my outlook on a lot of things and changed my approach to a few things, as well."
Hardy (24-10 MMA, 5-4 UFC) meets Amir Sadollah (6-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC on FUEL TV 5, which takes place Saturday at Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England. Main-card fights air live on FUEL TV while preliminary-card fights stream on Facebook.
Ayahuasca tourism in Peruvian Amazon has exploded in recent years as more Westerners have written about the medicine's effects. Groups travel to lodges in the deep jungle and are helped through strong hallucinogenic experiences by medicine men, or shamans, who prepare the ayahuasca and say it's a way to reach the spirit world.
Some might question the use of strong psychotropic substances as a preparative measure for a cage fight, but Hardy said the experience helped him be a better fighter.
"Dan Hardy the person is a bit more chilled out when he's not in the gym now," the 30-year-old Nottingham native said. "I've taken up yoga and altered my diet, taking some of the animal products out. My body's cleaner and lighter and functions better.
"As far as the fighter side of it goes, I understand where I'm at and why I'm doing this now – and what I need to put in to get the results I want."
Doubt certainly weighed on Hardy following a string of four losses that endangered his UFC career. His recent rebound against Ludwig saved his job, but Hardy, of course, isn't looking to just get by.
What he's trying to do is put together a win streak that will put him back in the conversation for a title shot. Hardy rocketed up the ranks in his early UFC career with four consecutive wins that earned him a title shot at champ Georges St-Pierre.
The fight, which took place at UFC 111, proved Hardy had a long way to go before he could compete with top-tier competition. Now, he just wants to perform well and put on a show for his hometown fans as he works his way up the ladder.
He and Sadollah both faced Ludwig in standup-heavy affairs, and Hardy said Ludwig has been training with the Season 7 winner of "The Ultimate Fighter" in Holland.
"They've both been preparing for a kickboxing match, I'm sure, and I'll be ready for him," Hardy said.
Of course, Hardy's preparation hasn't been limited to some extracurricular astral traveling – he's slaved away in the gym like always. But this time around, he said he's a little more mentally balanced.
"I'm in a good place, and when Amir stands across the octagon from me, he's going to be able to see that confidence and that preparedness for what's to come," Hardy said. "I know what part of my personality makes me want to fight now and I understand it better. I'm just going to enhance that when the door to the octagon closes."
MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino's Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by "Gorgeous" George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian "Goze" Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.