London, England — There have been a lot of changes in Veronica Hardy’s life over the past few years, and at UFC 286, the biggest of those clearly showed.
The former Veronica Macedo married ex-UFC welterweight title challenger Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy since last we saw her, which was in a losing effort in a bantamweight scrap with Bea Malecki in 2020.
The pair tied the knot this past December; if they needed another reason to celebrate, Saturday’s excursion to London certainly qualifies. Hardy looked much improved in her return to the flyweight division, easily out-working TUF 30 winner Juliana Miller on the feet, while avoiding her submission game on the ground.
Having husband Dan in her corner, who fought Georges St-Pierre for welterweight gold in 2010, “I feel like it’s like a cheat code to the game,” Hardy (7-4-1) told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight at the O2 Arena in London, England. “In a video came, you find the cheat code, you’re like ‘this dude has all the answers!'”
“If [Dan] can’t show you the way that he wants to do it, he can find a fighter and find me an example and find me different ways that other people have applied it, even if it’s something that’s not his strong suit. Or he’ll take me to another gym.”
It’s the effort by Dan Hardy that motivates Veronica to be at her best, she explained. “He’s put so much of his life aside to help me out that it’s unbelievable, and it gave me so much strength. Because Dan doesn’t need to do this, man. He has so much more important stuff to do. And if he’s taking the time to put all this energy into me, I’m going to give it my all.”
Her three year layoff, driven in part by concussion symptoms, did come “with a lot of ups and downs,” Hardy admitted. “Especially, my track record in the UFC is pretty horrific. It was going past just looking at the results and feeling like I was capable of coming back and doing it. And realizing that it was decision making and a lot of things that I was doing incorrectly or not prepping correctly for a fight, it wasn’t my lack of ability. And having to overcome that mentally in order to be back was difficult.”
Difficult too was seeing other people fight, living the dream that she wanted for herself. “It motivated me.”
Watch the full UFC 286 post-fight media scrum with Veronica Hardy above.