On Tuesday night, two former NFL players met each other in mixed martial arts combat, with former Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy facing former Jaguars, Lions, and Bears defensive end Austen Lane. In the National Football League, Hardy had been an All-Pro talent in Carolina, while Lane found himself bouncing from roster to roster. Perhaps with that accounted for, the end result of the match was not a surprise.
The match, the first ever professional MMA match for Greg Hardy, ended with his decisive victory, as he landed a blow that knocked out Lane. Video of the knockout was captured by Twitter user Thomas Lott.
While Hardy is proving to be a formidable force in the arena, any prospects of him returning to the NFL are likely down for the count. After his only Pro Bowl and Second-Team All-Pro year in 2013, Hardy was released by the Panthers after he missed most all the 2014 season following a league crackdown on players accused of domestic violence, as Hardy had been in May of that year. Under much scrutiny, the Cowboys opted to give Hardy an opportunity for the 2015 season, but his tenure in Dallas was marked by clashes with teammates and discipline problems. Hardy was released by the Cowboys following the season, and he has not played a down of professional football since.
Although NFL teams are not willing to give Hardy a second chance, UFC’s Dana White believes that the embattled fighter deserves one. As reported by MMA Weekly, White went to bat for Hardy at a press conference following UFC 225.
“If you talk to anybody he trains with, male or female, they say that he’s a very good guy. He’s very humble. Everybody deserves a second chance,” said White. “The guy was never charged with anything, he was never sentenced or anything like that. We’re going to give him a shot.”
With his victory in White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Hardy has taken another step towards potentially securing a spot on the UFC roster.