In 2014, Greg Hardy’s life took a big change. Earlier in the year, the former NFL player made his first Pro Bowl and as a result, the Carolina Panthers placed a franchise tag on him.
However, for as much good as there was for Greg Hardy, there was just as much bad in the same year. That May, Hardy was arrested for assault and communicating threats, after he was alleged to have assaulted an ex-girlfriend by grabbing her, throwing her into furniture, strangling her, and threatening to kill her.
As a result, the former football and basketball player at Ole Miss was cut from the Panthers and his future in football was uncertain. Turns out that after a legal battle, Hardy was able to play one more NFL season in 2015 with the Dallas Cowboys and ended up getting all the domestic violence charges against him expunged from his record. However, 2015 marked the last year Hardy put on an NFL uniform.
Even with having all the charges removed from his record, many still harshly judge him. Now Hardy has the opportunity to put the past behind him, as on Saturday he will make his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 143.
“I’m happy and ecstatic to be here,” said Hardy in his prefight interview. “Emotions are high, feelings are high, and it feels great.”
Hardy, who trains out of American Top Team, earned a UFC contract on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series last summer. In his three professional fights at heavyweight, “The Prince of War” is undefeated knocking out all of his opponents in under a minute. Hardy claims he is ready to make the walk to the octagon on Saturday.
“I belong here. I live for this, so I can’t wait to get in there” said Hardy.
While there is a new stage for the 30-year-old, his past still follows him into fight week. Recently, UFC Flyweight Rachael Ostovich was a victim of domestic violence. Ostovich also fights this Saturday, taking on Paige VanZant. Given the circumstances there was uncertainty whether or not Hardy would stay on the card, but he wasn’t backing away from the challenges in front of him.
“This is my journey, I don’t shy away from it,” Hardy said. “I’ve just been more proud and appreciative for this opportunity, and I try to look for the blessing and sliver linings in all of this.”
No matter what the future as in store for Hardy, there will be plenty of people that will judge him for his past, but he is not worried about what other’s think.
“There are going to be people that hate you. You’re going to have to deal with things,” Hardy said. “This are just my burdens and my downfalls, so it’s what I have to deal with. It doesn’t bother me. It’s something I want to face head on.
Hardy will be in the co-main event on Saturday with a flyweight championship fight between champion Henry Cejudo and bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw scheduled for the main event at UFC Fight Night 143.