"I'm an entertainer, I'll say that, and I love the game of football. There's nothing in the world like football fans, man. For drama, for support, for anything you need in life, there's nothing like football fans. So, if I got paid—because we all know I've gotta get paid to show up—but if I got paid, I'd probably be there, man."
Hardy also said there was more to come for his UFC career.
"Keep watching. Don't get too excited. This is nothing. This is not me getting ahead of myself. I want everyone to know that I know these are stepping stones and to know that this is nothing. I haven't even begun to eat yet, like, I'm starving. I'm malnourished."
Hardy, 29, knocked out Joe Hawkins in 32 seconds in his MMA debut at "Rise of a Warrior 21" in early November.
"It's a habit of an athlete, a player and a baller to put his whole heart and soul into what I'm doing. So the UFC has got my heart and soul," Hardy said after that fight, per James Walker of ESPN.com. "That's where I'm going in my mind and my heart. Everything that I do is focused on this MMA career, so I'm coming."
Hardy last played in the NFL in the 2015 season for the Dallas Cowboys. He was placed on the exempt/commissioner's permission list in the 2014 season while with the Carolina Panthers after he was accused of and ultimately convicted of domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, in a bench trial.
Holder didn't cooperate with the court upon appeal, however, and the charges were dismissed. The Panthers moved on from Hardy, though he signed with the Cowboys. He was initially suspended for 10 games in the 2015 season before that punishment was reduced to four games.
For his career, Hardy registered 40 sacks in 75 games. In his prime, he was one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL, posting 26 sacks between the 2012 and 2013 seasons. But he was largely a distraction in his lone season in Dallas, and his chances of ever playing in the NFL again all but ended when he was arrested and charged with cocaine possession in September 2016.
It's unclear if the XFL will return, let alone if it would accept a player with Hardy's checkered past. However, all indications are that Vince McMahon is moving toward giving the formerly failed league—the original XFL lasted for just one season in 2001—another try.