Hardy vs Allen Crowder close to being finalized for UFC Fight Night in January.
Former NFL defensive lineman Greg Hardy is reportedly getting called up to make his UFC debut at the UFC Fight Night event in Brooklyn on January 19. That event, which already features Paige VanZant vs Rachael Ostovich (who was recently the victim of domestic abuse), will mark the first live event of a five-year deal between the UFC and ESPN.
According to ESPN, Hardy, now 3-0 in his MMA career, will go up against Allen Crowder (9-3) in a heavyweight bout. Contracts have not yet been signed, but UFC President Dana White told ESPN that the fight is close to being finalized.
Hardy last played in the NFL as a member of the Dallas Cowboys during the 2015 season and has reportedly been training MMA since 2016, following a domestic violence incident that led to a lengthy suspension and ultimately, a change of careers.
He earned a developmental contract with the promotion by defeating Austin Lane on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series in June, and has gone on to win each of his three professional fights via first-round knockout. The 6'4 30-year old was scheduled on a regional show on December 21 in Florida, but White says the UFC elected to pull him from that card in anticipation of his promotional debut, according to ESPN's Brett Okamoto.
His opponent, Allen Crowder, has not fought since last December. He was forced to pull out of his UFC 235 match against Rashad Coulter due to injury.
After Hardy earned a developmental contract, White spoke of Hardy's troubled past, telling reporters, “The reality is if this guy stays clean for the next 10 years, wins a world title and is one of the greatest mixed martial arts of all time, he’s always going to hear about his past,” White said. “It’s going to follow him for the rest of his life. He’s done everything right so far. He’s paid his dues, hit rock bottom, built himself back up and is trying to make a living.“