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It’s not an exaggeration to call Dan Hardy an institution. From his champion days in Cage Warriors to his storied battles in the UFC, to his priceless and insightful color commentary on fight night, the landscape of MMA would look very, very different without him, and it’s a landscape we’d rather not imagine.

Now the world of music will be blessed with a little of that Hardy magic as he launches a new radio show this week that focuses on his second love of metal, punk and hardcore tunes. The show, Full Reptile Radio, kicks off Monday, August 20 on the Gimme Radio platform (1pm/10am ETPT) will be heady mix of classic and unsung artists, and of course a little MMA talk thrown in. We caught up with Hardy to ask him a little more about his latest venture.

The last event we worked together, I saw the jacket you wear with all the band patches on it, and I thought “oh yeah, this guy is a kindred spirit.” Can you just talk a little bit about your relationship with music and how you came to be such a fan?

I grew up with my Mum and Dad’s record collection, so from early on I was listening to Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Sex Pistols, Madness, etc. and loved all of it. When I hit my early teens I started to develop my own real music tastes, and that is when the world really began to open up. I’d get a bunch of different magazines and would discover a lot of new bands through them. Around fifteen I found myself at band practice or the pub a lot of the time, and would always be sharing music. Had I not pursued a fighting career, I would have definitely stuck with the band life, and would likely still be in a dusty old recording studio somewhere in the UK!

I’m always interested in the way fighters pick their walkout music. Some have a favorite song, some change it every fight, some let their teammates pick it. But you’re unique in that you recorded your own walkout track with Cock Sparrer. Talk a bit about that.

Well, in my earlier fights it would change fairly regularly depending on the venue, opponent, how training camp had gone… but one thing I learned fast is that heavy music got me too hyped up and aggressive. Pantera was no longer an option! When I signed my UFC contract I wanted everyone to know that I’d be the one to carry the UK to a world title. That’s why I chose the song, ‘England Belongs to Me’. I used it for my first four fights in the Octagon, and then Cock Sparrer contacted me to see if I’d like to be involved in the re-recording of it! Never won a fight walking out to my own vocals though, so I took that as a sign and went back to the original version for my last fight in Nottingham.

Along those lines, back when you were fighting, how was music part of your regimen? Was there a certain playlist of set of songs that accompanied you when you trained? What about after a big win?

I would be very specific when choosing training music, particularly when I was out running. I used to do a lot of visualization training when conditioning and I found that anchoring emotions to particular songs was a great way to switch my brain on at the necessary time. If I had just finished a good training session I would listen to my chosen entrance music to attach those feelings of confidence, positivity, fury, to the song. Then as I walked out and heard it in the arena my brain would be triggered and I would get that rush of favorable emotions.

Ok, so you’re going to be the first human to colonize Mars and you only have room on the spacecraft for five albums that have to last you the rest of your life. What albums are they?

  1. Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
  2. Vulgar Display of Power – Pantera
  3. Aenima – Tool
  4. Temples of Boom – Cypress Hill
  5. A-Sides – Soundgarden

You’ve got this new show debuting Monday on Gimme Radio. How did come about?

The music gods have forced the stars into alignment! I’ve always been closely connected to the music industry, from being sponsored by Earache Records to writing for music magazines. This is perfect for me though, as I love to share and talk about music, and am always looking for new music for my own playlists. As I travel I tend to meet other punks, hardcore kids and metal-heads, and find a lot of great stuff. Gimme Radio have offered me the perfect platform to really indulge in my love of music, and I’m looking forward to sharing my playlists with the world!

What can listeners expect when they tune in?

I’m hoping that listeners will appreciate a good balance of bands and sounds. Classic tracks that everyone loves, mixed in with some of the newer or unsigned bands that I meet on my travels. My distinguishing between genres isn’t great and I tend to like what I like, regardless of what section of the store then band is situated. I like chugging bass and blood-curdling vocals, and I love a good breakdown. Attitude is important, as is intensity, and most of the tracks I choose will be from past, present or future training playlists. If the song doesn’t make me feel like charging across the battlefield at the enemy, it’s likely to not make it onto the playlist!

Lastly, what’s one thing being a music guy and being an MMA guy have in common that we wouldn’t expect?

I would say its the obsessive nature that music and MMA demand. You can’t just listen to one Deftones album, and you can’t learn only one martial art! Keeping an open mind is also important. Nobody likes a snob, and everyone loves punching a guy that thinks he knows it all. That statement it true for both industries!


Steve Latrell is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TheUFSteve


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