NFL pariah Greg Hardy will make his full UFC debut in January at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Hardy (3-0), a former defensive end with the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys, will compete against Allen Crowder (9-3) at a UFC Fight Night on January 20 (AEDT), UFC president Dana White told ESPN.
The card does not yet have a headliner and will be the first event to be broadcast on ESPN as part of the $US1.5 billion rights package that was signed between the promotion and broadcaster in May.
Hardy, 30, was excommunicated from the NFL after details of an alleged 2014 assault on his ex-girlfriend became public. The case was dropped when the alleged victim did not appear in court to testify.
Prior to that, the accuser testified that Hardy threw her in the bathroom and then onto a futon filled with guns. An NFL investigation concluded Hardy used physical force on at least four instances.
Adding to all of this is that Hardy’s UFC debut will some on the came card in which flyweight fighter Rachael Ostovich will compete. She was hospitalised last month after allegedly being attacked by husband and fellow fighter Arnold Berdon.
The NFL gave Hardy another chance, but his stint in Dallas did not go smoothly.
Two years later he got into MMA and eventually made his way to American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, one of the most respected MMA gyms in the world. The gym has housed many UFC champions including women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and former women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Hardy’s MMA career got off with a bang when he recorded a 57-second knockout of Austen Lane in his debut fight on “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” back in June. After that fight, Hardy was signed to a development deal with the UFC.
Two months after that, Hardy once again showed off his power with a 17-second knockout over Tebaris Gordon that wowed White.
Hardy got another knockout in less than a minute on a card put on by a lesser promotion in September, but now he’s gotten a call to the big time.
White told ESPN that official fight contracts are yet to be signed, but he expects a deal to get done shortly.