Greg Hardy is focused on a career in mixed martial arts, but the former NFL star has a long way to go if he wants to fight for UFC.
UFC President Dana White told TMZ Sports Hardy would have to "win some serious fights" before the promotion even considered signing him:
Last October, Hardy told Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com he had been training in mixed martial arts for months and was going to start a career in the sport.
"I'm very focused and excited to start my MMA career," Hardy said in a statement to Helwani. "I'm going to do this the right way, I can assure you of that."
TMZ Sports reported in February Hardy was training with Antonio Silva at the American Top Team gym in Florida.
During an appearance on The MMA Hour podcast with Helwani (via Adam Guillen Jr. of MMA Mania) earlier this month, Hardy said training in the sport has helped him mature as a person:
I have a lot of problems as a human being. It’s not something that you do, just walking around saying ‘I’m perfect’ or ‘I’m good.’ Man, I have a lot of different issues that I’m definitely working through and working on.
I would say this helps me channel everything. It helps me just come back down to Earth, be humble, because these are machines that I see everyday. I get choked out, punched in the face, and laid out on the mat daily, and that’s not something that a guy my size and my stature with my history has every come across.
Hardy played six seasons in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys from 2010-15. He was arrested in May 2014 for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend and was suspended four games by the league prior to the 2015 season. He was arrested in 2016 on a charge of cocaine possession.
UFC previously gave former WWE star CM Punk an opportunity to start his MMA career with no previous experience. The former WWE champion challenged Mickey Gall at UFC 203 in a fight that lasted barely two minutes because Punk was taken down right away and submitted.
Hardy does have the benefit of youth that Punk didn't. He's only 28 years old, compared to 38 for Punk, but it takes years to learn the various fight disciplines needed to be a successful UFC fighter.