Unlike the middle-aged shit talking that transpired between Matt Serra and Matt Hughes leading up to their unworthy Fight of the Night at UFC 98, the war of words between Dan Hardy and Marcus Davis heading into their bout at UFC 99 next Saturday has been off the charts.
Tensions started rising when the brash young Brit started calling into question both Davis' talents as a boxer and what Hardy calls his "gimmick" of being known as "The Irish Hand Grenade."
Davis has subsequently responded on his UFC blog with venom - and an unintentional shot at bloggers everywhere - stating that he "hates Dan Hardy" and looks forward to punching holes in his face. The former professional boxer calls Hardy a punk for uttering "all his smack talk from behind his keyboard like a 14 year old living in his mom’s basement."
Once and for all - not all smack talkin' bloggers live in their mother's basement. Some of us live in beautiful condos on the side of ski hills, thankyouverymuch...
While Davis has taken great offense to what he calls an attack on his heritage, I have to say I agree with "The Outlaw" on this one. For starters, the fact that Davis alternates nicknames based on where he is fighting lends immediate credibility to Hardy's comments. You can't call yourself "The Irish Hand Grenade" only to switch it up to "The Celtic Warrior" because you're fighting in Northern Ireland. You're either one or the other. Not both.
Secondly, you can't really argue with Hardy when Davis' last six fights have all taken place on foreign soil. I certainly understand that it's in the UFC's best interest to have local and regional fighters on cards where they have the most appeal, but it's not as if Davis is headlining.
This is a mutually beneficial arrangement from the looks of it; Davis gets to fight on the Main Card and the UFC gets a solid draw to promote based on his proud Irish heritage. That being said, you'd be kidding yourself if you thought Davis was anywhere near a title shot and anything more than a guaranteed entertaining fight while overseas.
The last time he fought anyone remotely near championship caliber -Mike Swick at UFC 85 - he came out on the wrong end of a Unanimous Decision. Davis makes a living fighting on cards like this against guys who are willing to stand and trade with him, ensuring the fans get a slugfest while no damage is done to the UFC Welterweight picture.
Granted, the exact same can be said of Hardy at this point in his UFC career as well. "The Outlaw" hasn't done a whole lot of anything in the UFC as of yet, having had just two fights, both on the other side of the pond. He too is reaping the benefits of the UFC's foray into foreign markets just like his opponent, but something tells me that if Marcus Davis ends up like Rory Markham, the UFC will put the English kid with the explosive hands on a plane to the United States and a bigger and better talent pool.
Regardless of what side you're taking in the big mouth battle between Dan Hardy and Marcus Davis, one thing is certain: there's going to be fireworks inside the cage on June 13 in Cologne.
Who could ask for anything more?