Ex-NFL player Greg Hardy was awarded a contract with the UFC after scoring a first-round knockout in his professional MMA debut Tuesday, UFC president Dana White said. Hardy (1-0) is a former NFL All-Pro defensive end who recently moved into the MMA world. He won three amateur fights before making his pro debut at Dana White’s Contender Series 9.
The controversial ex-NFL All-Pro scored a highlight-reel, 57-second knockout over fellow former NFL player Austen Lane. The event took place at The Ultimate Fighter Gym and streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.
“I’m ready for the big show,” Hardy said after his win. “I love the opportunity. I train at the best gym in the world, and I have full confidence and faith that those guys are there to get me ready for whatever comes next.”
“Hardy has no experience, tonight was his first professional fight … but man he can punch,” White said after the event. “Obviously, there’s a lot more to that guy … so what we’re gonna do is we’re going to bring Hardy in and put him on a … This guy is going to need more experience, and we’ve done this before.
“I don’t know if he goes away, we’ve talked about some ideas to help this guy grow and he’s already with a great team. He’s with Dan Lambert and his crew down in Florida. Now he just needs some experience.”
— UFC (@ufc) June 13, 2018
Hardy was sentenced in 2014 by a North Carolina judge to 18 months’ probation, with a 60-day jail sentence suspended, after he was found guilty of assaulting a female and communicating threats. A member of the Carolina Panthers at the time, the 2013 Pro Bowler had been accused by an ex-girlfriend of using physical force against her after they had a night of drinking, and of putting his hands around her neck and threatening to kill her.