Controversial ex-NFL player Greg Hardy is officially headed to the UFC.
On Tuesday night as part of Dana White’s Contender Series, Hardy blasted fellow NFL veteran Austen Lane with a vicious first round knockout to start his professional career with a victory and a developmental contract with the UFC.
Hardy was a highly publicized addition to the Contender Series not only because he’s a brutish heavyweight with incredible athletic prowess from his years spent on the gridiron but also because of his checkered past.
Hardy faced serious domestic violence allegations back in 2014 and a judge actually convicted him but the former Dallas Cowboy filed an appeal and when the victim failed to testify against him, the charges were overturned and expunged from his record.
Following the end of his football career, Hardy decided to transition into mixed martial arts where he began working at the famed American Top Team academy in Florida where he racked up three amateur wins — all by first round knockout.
Now Hardy has his first professional win by the same exact method after he tore through Lane on Tuesday night in a heavyweight showdown in Las Vegas.
As the fight got underway, both fighters were throwing heavy leather but it was Hardy who connected with a massive right hook that twisted Lane and put him down to one knee. Just as Lane got back to his feet, still dazed from the first punch, Hardy uncorked a hellish left hand that put his opponent down and out.
The end came at just 57 seconds into the opening round.
While it was his professional debut, Hardy didn’t feel like he needed anymore seasoning before getting his opportunity to fight in the UFC.
“I’m ready for the big show,” Hardy said. “I love the opportunity. I train at the best gym in the world and I have full confidence and faith that those guys are there to get me ready for whatever comes next.”
White stated that they would be signing Hardy to a developmental deal, which likely means he’ll be allowed to fight in other promotions while remaining under UFC contract.
In addition to Hardy joining the UFC, Alonzo Menifield earned a contract with the promotion after a devastating eight-second TKO to win his fight in the featured bout of the evening.