Greg Hardy wants to become UFC heavyweight champion
With his NFL career clearly a thing of the past, former Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy is focusing all of his time and energy on his amateur MMA debut, which will take place this weekend. Hardy is hoping that is just the first stepping stone en route to a much, much bigger goal.
In an interview with TMZ on Tuesday, Hardy said he wants to eventually fight in the UFC and compete for the UFC heavyweight title.
“Honestly, if America Top Team (his Florida training facility) allows me to stay here and there’s a place for me in this building, I want to be the champion of everything I can be — the world champion and the best MMA fighter in the world,” he said. “I would definitely like to get into the UFC and get the belt and have my first opportunity to walk around with that.”
Hardy is already 29 and only began MMA training after it became clear no NFL team was going to sign him, so he is obviously at a disadvantage. He acknowledged that, but he does not think it has to stand in the way of him becoming a champion.
“I’m gonna have to bring another level of athletic ability to compete with these guys who have been learning for years and years and years and years,” Hardy said. “I’ve been so focused on one skillset my entire life that I’m gonna have to bring a different dynamic just to be in the ring. I’m excited, but pretty anxious to see what it’s gonna look like at a high level.”
Once one of the best pass-rushers in football, Hardy’s career went into a tailspin after disturbing details of his domestic violence case went public. His agent claimed during the offseason that multiple teams were interested in Hardy, but that was likely just an attempt at boosting the former Pro Bowler’s value.
Hardy will fight Joe Hawkins at Rise of a Warrior 21 on Saturday.