Cage Warriors

Next Stop for Hardwick: UFC?

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MMA fans the world over have had the chance now to calm down from the excitement that was Saturday’s Cage Warriors 172 from Newcastle, England. While it’s only late May, the card has the potential to be named the show of the year by the time the ball drops in Times Square in New York City on Dec. 31.

It was that good, everybody. Looking back at the results of the card, stoppages were the order of the day on Saturday night at Vertu Motors Arena in Newcastle. Just one fight on the undercard went to the scorecards, a welterweight fight between Jackson Clarke (1-0 MMA, 1-0 CWFC) and Faudel Bentayeb (4-5 MMA, 0-1 CWFC) won by the former (unanimous decision) after three rounds.

By and large, there were highlights up and down the slate on the night, none more impressive than our focus today.

Hardwick Turns it Up in Impressive Win

The headlining bout of the evening saw the promotion’s vacant featherweight championship at stake between Harry Hardwick (11-3-1 MMA,  5-0-1 CWFC) and late replacement Orlando Prins (5-3 MMA, 2-3 CWFC), the latter substituting for Zafar Mohsen (13-4 MMA) in what was to be a promotional debut. Mohsen withdrew from the event prior to the show amid problems securing a visa.

In order to see why Hardwick is an impressive fighter and one who could be knocking on the UFC’s doorstep after this weekend, just look at the tape of the second round of the fight. During that period, Hardwick stalked Prins as the latter tried to take him down.

Hardwick then opened it up with a shot to the body before taking him down and pouring it on with ground and pound strikes. After a burst of shots. Hardwick rose to his feet before returning to the mat and landing another surge of punches in bunches.

A Dream Come True for Harry Hardwick

While Prins did everything that he possibly could to stay in the fight, even standing back up and moving to the clinch,  Marc Godard had seen enough and waved off the contest less than halfway through the second round. The victory was his sixth career stoppage and his second by knockout.

More importantly, Saturday’s result checked off an important box for his career resume: Scoring a championship.

Hardwick’s younger brother George (12-2 MMA, has some Cage Warriors gold of his own. The 27-year-old sibling is the current Cage Warriors Lightweight Champion, having won the then-vacant belt in July of 2022.

After Hardwick was officially announced as the new champion, he danced around the cage with the belt, strumming his newfound strap like a guitar.

An Appeal is Made

Not long after Harry Hardwick’s championship victory, he took to the microphone in a post-fight interview that made the censors quite busy. In-between all the bleeps, the new champ made a request to UFC CEO Dana White.

“Listen to me, Dana White,” Hardwick pleaded “The best episode of (Expletive Deleted) Friday you will ever do will be the Teesside chicken parmesan. I can give you the recipe, they can give you the recipe for the garlic sauce, the manjaro sauce and the sizzle sauce. Get me in the UFC, get a (Censored) Friday of Parmo. If not, I’ll defend my belt, I’ll finish some people. I’ll keep fighting, I’ll stay active, but trust me, Dana: You want a Teesside chicken parmesan and you want the Hardwicks in the UFC.”

George Hardwick was featured as part of last year’s roster of Contender Series fighters, dropping a unanimous decision to Abdul-Kareem Al-Sewady (15-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who scored a contract from White at the end of the Aug. 15 show.

Harry Hardwick is Tremendous

Although Cage Warriors’ next show in Newcastle will not be until the fall, with the promotion scheduled to return to the area right before United States Thanksgiving on Nov. 23, the possibility exists that Harry Hardwick might not appear on that show.  In the interim basis, the elder brother might get a telephone call from Dana White.

To be frank, Harry Hardwick getting a contract offer from the UFC wouldn’t be too much of a shock. Statistically speaking, Hardwick has posted an unbeaten record at 5-0-1 since joining Cage Warriors in June of 2021.

Two of those wins have come by way of stoppage inside the second round of the fight, including his win by knockout on Saturday. Given that he’s now added a championship to his resume, there’s really only one thing left to do:

Final Thoughts

When Dana White gets back to his office in Las Vegas on Tuesday after the extended holiday weekend concludes, the first order of business should be to call Harry Hardwick up on the phone and offer him a UFC deal. His performance over the weekend shows that Hardwick is a man ready for the biggest stage in MMA.

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.