Greg Hardy sure impressed UFC president Dana White in his first professional fight.
The former NFL defensive end earned a UFC contract Tuesday night with a vicious knockout win over another ex-football player, Austen Lane, on the season premiere of White’s “Tuesday Night Contender Series.” Hardy’s victory came just 57 seconds into the bout and drew a priceless reaction from White.
Hardy, who spent six seasons in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys, won each of his three amateur fights via first-round knockouts before his impressive pro debut. It’s clear he has some potential, hence White’s decision to offer him a UFC contract after Tuesday’s victory.
Of course, no conversation about Hardy is complete without acknowledging his checkered past, which includes disgusting domestic assault allegations that caused him to miss time in the NFL. He’s a very controversial signing for UFC, but the 29-year-old has stayed out of trouble recently and White is willing to roll the dice.
“People always make mistakes, and the thing about making mistakes is, how do you recover from that? How do you act after you’ve done something bad?” White said, per MMAJunkie.com. “This guy has paid his dues, and like I said, he hit rock bottom. He built himself back up, he’s going out there, and he’s fighting in these amateur fights where he doesn’t get paid. Now he came here, and I think he made $10,000 and $10,000. He’s working his way back up the ladder. He’s doing the right things. He’s off drugs, he’s off alcohol, and he’s trying to change his life.
“You can point the finger at a guy all you want, but you can’t look down at a guy for trying to turn his life around and trying to be a better person. And I believe that’s what he’s doing.”
No matter what you think of Hardy, there’s one thing everyone probably can agree on: The guy packs a powerful punch, which was on full display Tuesday night.
Thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images