Former Carolina Panthers defensive end, Greg Hardy, earned a UFC contract offer after winning his first professional bout…
When the Carolina Panthers drafted Greg Hardy in the sixth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft it initially appeared the team had gotten a bargain. The Tennessee native and University of Mississippi standout enjoyed an early path to stardom in the league.
By year four, Hardy had increased his production annually and earned Pro Bowl honors on the heels of a 15 sack performance during the regular season. However, an off the field arrest and conviction of domestic violence against then-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, led to his eventual departure from professional football.
Carolina parted ways with Hardy after he was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list after one game in the 2014 regular season. He never returned to the field for the Panthers although the Dallas Cowboys did sign him the following year after the case was dismissed and the charge expunged from Hardy’s record.
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Hardy missed more time due to a violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy but his off the field issues coupled with a decline in performance and other factors kept him from another contract. No other team provided Hardy an opportunity and he decided to try his hand at mixed martial arts.
In October of 2016, Hardy announced his intention to begin fighting professionally and just over one year later earned his first amateur victory. After three dominant wins, all in the first-round and many within seconds, Hardy made his professional debut against another former NFL defensive end, Austen Lane.
Hardy knocked out Lane in just 57 seconds prompting UFC President, Dana White, to offer him a contract within the sports top organization.
Standing 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, Hardy would be in the heavyweight division and while it may be a while before he were to face current champion Stipe Miocic, or any other ranked UFC opponent, early indications are he is headed in that direction.
Now a professional in another field, many will question White’s intent behind the opportunity for an ex-Panthers and Cowboys player with such an embattled past.