UFC President Dana White has addressed the plans that he has for Greg Hardy.
Hardy made his pro-MMA debut on Tuesday night (June 12, 2018) on the season 2 premiere of ‘Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series’ that aired on the promotion’s streaming service, UFC Fight Pass, as he faced off against fellow former NFL player Austen Lane in a heavyweight bout.
As seen in the fight, Hardy scored a scary KO after connecting with a right hook then followed up with a left hook. Following the fight, White officially announced that the UFC has decided to sign Hardy to a contract.
“The reality is, if this guy stays clean for the next 10 years, goes on to win a world title, becomes one of the greatest mixed martial artists to ever live, he’s always going to be looked at – he’s always going to hear it,” White told MMAjunkie following Dana White’s Contender Series 9 on Tuesday night in Las Vegas. “That’s always going to be in the story that’s written about him. Other opponents he fights are going to call him a woman beater. That’s going follow him for the rest of his life. You don’t shed that. That stays with you forever, and he’s done all the things right so far.
“The guy paid his dues. He hit rock bottom. He built himself back up, and the guy’s out there just trying to make a life and a living.”
“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. “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.”
Hardy was able to score his first victory as an amateur cage fighter in early November and returned in December for his second first-round knockout in MMA competition.
His latest amateur fight came back in February at LFA 33 in Dallas where he made his promotional debut by scoring a knock out over Ryan Chester in 14 seconds in a heavyweight preliminary bout.
“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.”
“He’s the type of athlete, and he’s the type of guy that, if he does anything wrong, there will be no mercy for him,” White said. “I mean, everybody’s going to jump on him. You talk to the people in his camp, they love the guy. Men and women. They think he’s a great guy and a guy who (was) probably doing drugs, drinking and made a big mistake.”
Hardy does have a history of domestic violence that started back in 2014 when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a former girlfriend and communicating threats against her life.
As a result, he was convicted of domestic violence but after an appeal, the charges were eventually expunged from his record. This has led to people being skeptical of why the UFC wants to do business with him.
“The way I see it is, what I would love to do, in a perfect world, this is not what I’m doing, but in a perfect world this is what I would like to do,” White said. “If he can turn around and come back, I would like to have him fight on the last episode of the Contender Series. Then I would like to put him on a bunch of ‘Looking For A Fight’ cards, get him some experience and then we’ll decide when we think he’s ready for the UFC.
“If you see him, you see that he has power. He’s a big heavyweight. He needs to work more. He needs to get some more fights. We’ve done deals where, for example, Cyborg was under contract with the UFC but fought in Invicta. Alexa Grasso was under contract with the UFC. Mackenzie Dern was under contract with the UFC and fought in other places. I have a few ideas of what to do with this guy and let him develop. He’s with a great team already, he’s training with great guys. They say he’s a hard worker. They say all positive things about him out of that gym. We’ll try to build him up and see what he can do.”