Former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy will make his UFC debut in January, according to UFC president Dana White. The news was first reported by Brett Okamoto of ESPN.
The 29-year-old former defensive end last played in the NFL in 2015, and after pivoting to MMA the following year, he went 3-0 as an amateur, all by first-round knockout. He then went on to win two bouts in Dana White’s contender series.
According to ESPN, Hardy will make his UFC debut against Allen Crowder (9-3) at UFC Fight Night on Jan. 19 in Brooklyn, New York at UFC’s inaugural show at ESPN+.
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.
Hardy denied assaulting the woman and claimed that she suffered bruises while hurling herself into a bathtub in his apartment after he said he wouldn’t sleep with her, and that she threatened to kill herself if she left his building. He appealed and asked for a jury trial, and the case against him was dismissed in February 2015 after the woman failed to appear in court, with prosecutors suggesting that Hardy had privately reached a financial settlement with her.
What’s more surprising is that Hardy is making his debut on the same card as Rachael Ostovich who was very recently subjected to domestic violence by her Husband. The move of UFC to put Hardy in the same card as Ostovich has received massive criticism from MMA fans.