When it comes to his last three bouts, welterweight up-and-comer Carson Hardman had three very separate experiences.
Following his first career loss to Clay Collard in April of last year, Hardman rebounded with an admittedly disappointing decision victory over Kerry Lattimer last December. He finally righted himself with a solid first-round TKO win over Craig Grove this February.
“(In 2018) I lost to Clay Collard, and then I had a win over Kerry Lattimer that I wouldn’t call win because it went to decision,” Hardman told MMAWeekly.com. “I wasn’t satisfied with my performance that night, so I fell like my fight against Craig Grove was a huge pick-me-up.
“(The win over Grove) was something I was very satisfied with. My performance was way better. We switched out some things with my coaching which made a world of difference. Starting out my 2019 like that, I couldn’t ask for anything better, honestly.”
Since turning pro in 2017, Hardman feels like it’s been the small additions to his game which have added up over time to making the biggest difference in the fighter he is now compared to then.
“I believe what separates me from every other fighter, I might not be the most talented or skilled person right off the bat, but if you look at every fight I’ve taken, I transform into something new, something different, tweaking things here and there, continuing improving and learning, and then implementing that in the fight,” said Hardman.
“I think that’s the biggest difference, the little subtle changes that a lot of people don’t pick up on, they make the world of difference in the end. I’m a lot more patient now than I was in the beginning. I feel like the game is slowing down a little bit. I think a little bit more while I’m in there and portray more of my skills in the fight.”
On Friday in Salt Lake City, Utah, Hardman (7-1) will look for his third straight victory when he takes on Brian Thomas (8-3) in the SteelFist Fight Night 68 welterweight main event.
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“With Brian I respect him, but what I recall when I looked at his record I wasn’t impressed with anyone he’s fought before, and I don’t think he’s fought anybody the caliber that I am,” Hardman said. “As far as what I need to do for the win, I don’ t think there’s no special game plan, there is no this or that particularly, I just go in there and do my thing.
“Use angles, control the ring, look for openings; if I need to take him to the ground, then I will, if I can handle his stand-up, then we’ll continue to stand-up with him; there is really never a set game plan for one opponent – it’s more a general game plan for everyone.”
When it comes to the second half of 2019, Hardman would like to see himself move up to the next level before the year is out.
“I keep saying that I want to go bigger and better,” said Hardman. “I would love to go to the UFC by (the end of the year). But in the meantime, I’m not going to wait for that silver bullet or golden opportunity, I’m going to take life by the moment and take every opportunity to build my resume and do better. There’s no reason sitting on my laurels.”