Greg Hardy wows UFC president with 57-second knockout
Former Dallas Cowboys defensive end and alleged domestic abuser Greg Hardy is officially a UFC fighter.
Competing on “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” in Las Vegas, Hardy, 29, won his UFC contract in his first-ever professional MMA fight by knocking out fellow NFL alum Austen Lane in just 57 seconds. The fight was contested in the heavyweight division.
“It’s awesome news,” Hardy said after the fight, according to ESPN. “I get an opportunity to show what I’ve got, go back and work hard and come back even better than before. It’s exciting. It’s everything I could ask for.
“I just want to get back in the ring. Whatever show it is, I just want another opportunity to fight. Man, I’m having the time of my life and really enjoying it.”
On awarding Hardy a contract, UFC president Dana White said: “This is strange, when you look at a guy like Hardy, he has no experience, tonight was his first professional fight, but man can he punch and obviously there’s a lot more to that guy.
“So what we’re going to do is bring Hardy in. This guy needs to get some more experience and we’ll figure out how to do that.”
Watching Hardy’s fight, White was clearly impressed with what he saw.
Hardy was convicted of domestic violence and sentenced to 18 months of probation, leading to his being released from the Panthers. However, the charges were later dismissed and expunged from Hardy’s record after his accuser did not make herself available as a witness in Hardy’s appeal.
The Cowboys gave Hardy another chance in 2015, but the headaches he caused off the field did not make him worth his declining production on it and his NFL career ended after that season.
Hardy began training in MMA and eventually landed at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla. The gym is one of the best camps in MMA and is home to a number of UFC fighters, including welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, interim welterweight champion Colby Covington and women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.