The former Dallas Cowboy scored a lightning-quick KO in his return to the cage last weekend, but it wasn’t without controversy…
When Greg Hardy announced his intentions to crossover from the world of professional football to MMA in 2016, it was met with a fair bit of skepticism to say the very least. After failing to be re-signed by the Dallas Cowboys amid a slew of domestic assault and drug-related controversies last February, the 28-year-old defensive end immediately began training for his MMA debut despite having no previous experience in any form of martial arts. Nevertheless, Hardy was confident that he could make a huge splash in the sport, telling UFC President Dana White to “keep an eye on” him.
Following a successful amateur debut in November, which saw him defeat 44-year-old heavyweight Joe Hawkins with strikes in less than a minute, Hardy stepped back into the cage last weekend to headline The American Kombat Alliance’s Rite of Passage 2 event. Squaring off against Mississippi native Kenneth Woods, who was making his amateur debut, Hardy once again made quick work of his opponent in a fight that in no way, shape, or form seemed like a work. Nope, just your average, completely legitimate fight here…
— Brian Oswald (@briancoswald) December 2, 2017
Dominance or Deception?
As you can see from the clip above (which comes via Bleacher Report’s Brian Oswald), Woods appears the spend the majority of the fight doing his best Kalib Starnes impression, evading or outright running from Hardy’s blitzkrieg of strikes before being dropped by a head kick that he appeared to block with at least one hand. After a few follow-up punches on the ground, the ref was forced to step in and save Woods from a further beating, bringing the fight to a close in just 32 seconds.
It’s a fight that will almost surely have fans crying foul, and in fact, some already are:
Bruh is literally running away from Greg Hardy…. https://t.co/z99e4Mq6yX
— Keep It 2 Virgils. (@__Glennjamin) December 5, 2017
Is a UFC contract imminent?
Still, there’s no denying the potential that a heavyweight with Hardy’s athleticism possesses. With the right team behind him, it’s possible that he could even make good on his promises to end up in the UFC one day. The organization is in need of new stars like never before, and a guy that controversy seems to follow as regularly as Hardy could surely provide some free publicity, if nothing else. Regardless of how sketchy his pair of wins have looked, Hardy has already made a better case to be included in the ranks of the UFC roster than, say, CM Punk.
And as White told FS1’s Speak For Yourself last year, it’s not as if he’s completely closed the door on the idea of having Hardy in the UFC:
“I’m one of those guys too who believes that we’re all human beings and we all make mistakes,” White said. “And when you make a mistake, you pay your penance, whatever it might be, and you should be allowed to make a living and move on in your life.
“I’m not saying he should be welcomed here, but I’m saying I’m a guy who believes that if you make a mistake, your life isn’t over, go kill yourself or something. You made a mistake, you pay for it. When you make mistakes, it’s all about how you act from there on out. How do you handle yourself after that and what do you do to fix it.”
Greg Hardy’s First Fight
Now 2-0 as an amateur, Hardy has announced when or where his next fight will take place yet. In the meantime, check out this (incredibly grainy) footage of his first professional fight.