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Ex-NFL Player Greg Hardy Scores 57-Second KO In Pro MMA Debut, Earns UFC Contract

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jun 15, 2018 09:01 AM EDT
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Former NFL linebacker Greg Hardy received a reward for his impressive 57-second first-round knockout victory in his professional MMA debut on Tuesday, June 12.

UFC boss Dana White awarded Hardy with a contract to fight in the Octagon after his impressive win over ex-NFL defensive end Austen Lane in their heavyweight match in the "Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series."

White made the announcement during the broadcast, surprising even Hardy himself. Hardy says the UFC contract was awesome news and an opportunity to show his ability as an MMA fighter in a much bigger stage. "It's exciting. It's everything I could ask for," 29-year-old Hardy says. The UFC did not reveal details of Hardy's deal.

Hardy said the UFC contract makes him more inspired to get back into the ring, where he currently earns a living after the NFL banished him for domestic violence and drug charges. "I'm having the time of my life and really enjoying it," said Hardy, who is training under the American Top Team.

Hardy Beat Rival With Hard Punches

Hardy used a straight right hand to bring Lane down to his knee. Lane got back to his feet, only to receive a strong left hook from Hardy that ended his night early. Before this, Hardy went 3-0 in his MMA career as an amateur.

According to Hardy, he's ready for the challenge that's waiting in the UFC, with the help of his trainers. Hardy is confident that his trainers will prepare him for whatever comes next in his UFC stint.

Aside from Hardy, White also offered light heavyweight Alonzo Menifield a UFC deal. Menifield's fight went quicker than Hardy as he destroyed Dashawn Boatright eight seconds into the opening round.

UFC's Decision Met With Criticisms

White's decision to offer Hardy a contract was met with criticism as the former NFL player was involved in off-field legal issues such as domestic violence and drug possession. The NFL evicted Hardy go due to his off-field troubles.

However, White assured that Hardy would not be given any second chance if he gets involved in similar cases in the future. "If he does anything wrong, there will be no mercy for him," White says.

A sixth-round pick by Carolina in the 2010 NFL Draft, Hardy played five seasons for the Panthers. In the 2013 season, Hardy was selected to the Pro Bowl and to his first All-Pro stint.

In 2014, the Panthers placed Hardy on the commissioner's exempt list during the duration of his domestic violence case. The next year, the Panthers decided to cut Hardy.

Hardy then signed a one-year worth $11.3 million with the Dallas Cowboys. He played 12 games for the Cowboys, recording 35 combined tackles and one interception. The Cowboys did not offer him another deal in the offseason.

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