Greg Hardy Discusses UFC Heavyweight Title Ambition Ahead of Amateur MMA Debut

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2017

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 27: Greg Hardy #76 of the Dallas Cowboys warms up before the start of their game against the Buffalo Bills during NFL game action at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 27, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Greg Hardy has insisted he has lofty ambitions on the brink of his first amateur MMA bout, telling TMZ he feels as though he can win the UFC heavyweight title.

Hardy, the former Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys defensive end, will face Joe Hawkins on Saturday at Rise of a Warrior 21. Speaking ahead of the contest, he revealed he isn't going to put a ceiling on his goals:

"Honestly I would like to be in the UFC and be able to obtain UFC gold," he told TMZ. "…I want to be champion of everything I can be. The world champion, best heavyweight."

Hardy posted the following image on Instagram on Tuesday, suggesting preparations for his first fight are beginning to get serious:

The 29-year-old has a chequered past, as he was found guilty of assaulting and threatening his ex-girlfriend in May 2014. 

He was hit with an initial 18-month probation period and a suspended 60-day jail sentence, however, the charges were dropped after the victim of the alleged attack failed to appear in court for an appeal hearing.

Nevertheless, after an investigation by the NFL in April 2015, he was suspended for 10 games initially, though that was eventually reduced to four in July that year. After just one season with the Cowboys, he was released, prompting the move into MMA.

The Cowboys let Hardy go after one season.
The Cowboys let Hardy go after one season.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Also speaking to TMZ, Hardy's boxing coach Billy Padden believes the former NFL man can be a success in combat sports, having impressed at the renowned American Top Team gym. "He actually knocked two UFC fighters down in sparring," he said.   

The current UFC heavyweight champion is Stipe Miocic, who retained his title with a win over Junior dos Santos in May. Hardy has a long way to go before he even contemplates competing at that level, though.

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