Greg Hardy, the controversial former NFL All-Pro, has been the topic of much discussion since moving from professional football over to MMA, largely due to his troubling history and the UFC’s willingness to promote a man who was more or less forced out of the NFL for domestic violence. However, it wasn’t just Hardy’s past that was cause for concern among the fans and media, it was Hardy’s future. The former NFL star was open about still wanting a shot to return to the NFL, even playing Arena football last year in the hopes of making it back to the big show. However, now Hardy says that all of that is behind him and he’s fully focused on fighting.
Speaking recently with Ariel Helwani of ESPN, Hardy said he was retiring from professional football to focus entirely on his fighting career.
“I’m honestly looking into how to officially retire on that side. I’ve always wanted and always said that if I had the opportunity to go back and get that yellow jacket, that’s a goal that I have for myself but the way things have been going in this field, the way things are looking on the boxing side, the way everything is just coming together, it’s over for me on that side,” Hardy said. “I feel like it would be disrespectful at this point after getting such a warm welcome – well, as warm as it can get – such a great welcome to the fight world, I feel like it would disrespectful to go back and even teeter-totter. I’m fully committed and it’s all eyes on the belt.”
The title is a lofty goal for a man with only five professional fights to his name and a 1-1 record in the UFC. But that’s just the beginning of Hardy’s ambition. Hardy says that he’s not only interested in the UFC title but in boxing titles as well. Apparently, Hardy has fallen in love with the sport of boxing while training in MMA and hopes to try his hand at that one day as well. Then the ultimate goal is to follow in Henry Cejudo’s footsteps and become the greatest combat sports heavyweight of all time.
“I’m looking into it, doing some work in there,” Hardy said about boxing. “I’ve got some of the greatest coaches in the world at American Top Team. Just getting the opportunity to move back and forth between different arts, I found a nice spot in boxing. I’m starting to develop a love for it, a like for it, and a yearning to actually get in there and try it out. I think, with the blessing of the big man upstairs, that it’s something I would love to look into and start fighting pretty soon and wet my feet.
“I think I could be one of – if not the – the greatest fight sports heavyweight of all-time. Not even just MMA, just the greatest combat sports heavyweight. I’m versatile, you know?”
Hardy clarified that “the big man upstairs” meant UFC President Dana White, and that could work in his favor. White has been talking about Zuffa boxing for sometime now and Hardy could be the kind of known commodity that might allow him to start making moves into the sport. First things first though, Hardy has to continue winning in MMA, and that means getting the job done this weekend. On Saturday, the former Dallas Cowboy returns to Texas, taking on Juan Adams at UFC San Antonio. Like Hardy, Adams made his way to the UFC through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series but “The Kraken” has no love for Hardy and has been talking a mountain of trash ahead of their bout. Hardy says he’s not letting any of that phase him though.
“Whatever he needs to do to sell the fight on his end,” Hardy said while holding his baby daughter. “When you’re talking about peasants and children – obviously I’ve got some experience dealing with children – when you deal with children they act out and the lash out. That’s really the only way they know how to act. they don’t know how to act like professionals, they don’t know how to act like gentlemen, and they don’t know how to act like world-class fighters and that’s what I’m trying to keep my mind on and keep my actions reflecting in that world. So I haven’t seen or payed attention to a lot of anything he’s saying. I’m not really worried about it at all.”
Adams has been saying a lot to pay attention to. “The Kraken” actually began calling out Hardy before the former NFL star even made his UFC debut and began ramping up his trash talk as Hardy’s profile continued to surge. Earlier this year, in response to Hardy saying he would be the Michael Jordan of MMA, Adams called him “stupid” and “delusional”. But Hardy says that come Saturday, Adams is going to see he’s only speaking the truth.
“Think about this: anybody – DQ or not – that’s stepped in that ring has gotten knocked out,” Hardy said. “It’s just my way of life, it’s my style. We’re gonna put him to sleep one way or the other and if we don’t, I’m going back to the drawing board because something is wrong.
“I have no malice in my heart for anybody. . . I just don’t have a lot of hate for people. I do have a love for disconnecting people from their consciousness [though] and that’s what’s gonna happen to anybody that steps in the ring with me. Whether it’s the champ currently or it’s a man with one or two fights or somebody that’s talking trash or somebody that’s saying nothing, everybody’s on the hit list. You signed that contract so you approved it. Take your punishment.”
UFC on ESPN 4 takes place on Saturday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX.
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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Who wins this weekend?
16 votes total
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