Greg Hardy didn’t have to wait long to hear from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Following victories in all three of his amateur MMA fights, Hardy would earn a spot on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. We should point out, of course, that all three of his amateur fights ended the same way — in the first round. He didn’t mess around either, with the fights averaging roughly 60 seconds. And his showing on the Contender Series would be no different. In 57 seconds, Hardy would knock out his opponent (Austen Lane) to emerge victorious in his professional MMA debut. But that’s not all. Per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Hardy is now the latest representative of UFC’s heavyweight division.
We don’t know the details of his contract just yet, but White does want to give the former NFL defensive lineman more time to develop before throwing him into the fire. As for Hardy himself, well, he cannot wait to get going.
“It’s awesome news. 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.”
And while development is crucial for him, Hardy doesn’t want to wait too long. In fact, he just wants to get right back at it — whenever he can.
“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. … I’m ready for the big show.”
But if you’re wondering why some are criticizing White for giving Hardy this opportunity, the answer is simple. A domestic violence conviction (later expunged) and issues with drug possession ultimately saw him exiled from the NFL. And while Hardy denies ever hitting the woman in question, photos tell a different story. Nevertheless, he’s in the UFC now. And fans typically have a short memory when the person in question is good at sports.
We’ll see what comes of this as the former All-Pro lineman develops.