Former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy’s MMA career got off to a fast start, literally, Tuesday night when he knocked out fellow former NFL player Austen Lane in 57 seconds. The fight was Hardy’s first professional bout, and it was successful enough to warrant a contract from the UFC.
The 29-year-old Hardy made the transition to MMA in 2016 following the end of his NFL career. He had fought three times as an amateur, going undefeated, heading into Tuesday night’s bout that opened the second season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
According to MMAFighting.com, the contract with the UFC is likely to be of the developmental variety, with president Dana White reportedly hinting that Hardy could see fights elsewhere before joining the UFC cards. Hardy, for his part, thinks he’s ready to go straight to the UFC saying “I’m ready for the big show,” after the match.
He’s a controversial figure in the sports world as his NFL career ended because of a pair of run-ins with the law. In 2016, he was found guilty of assaulting a female and communicating threats by a Carolina judge after an incident with a former girlfriend in 2014, in which he allegedly threw her onto a bed covered in assault weapons. The case was later dropped when the victim didn’t appear in court to testify. He was then arrested on charges of cocaine possession in September of 2016.