UFC heavyweight Derrick Lewis is eager to step into the Octagon with Greg Hardy because of the domestic violence allegations the former NFL star has faced.
Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend in 2014 after police were told he threw her into a bathroom wall and choked her, but the case was dismissed the following year when the plaintiff could not be located by state officials for an appeal hearing. The former Carolina Panthers defensive end denied the allegations, and the pair reached a settlement in a civil suit.
The 29-year-old has not featured in the NFL since leaving the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, but he is 3-0 as an amateur MMA fighter. He could earn a UFC contract with an impressive performance in Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, according to MMA Today's Nolan King:
While a win on the show would not guarantee Hardy a contract, UFC president White will be scouting the participants for a potential spot on the company's roster.
Lewis wants a shot if Hardy is signed. In an interview published on Tuesday, he told TMZ Sports: "He's a wife beater, I'd like to get in there with him. I like knocking wife beaters out. I'll fight Greg Hardy. ... It'll be like vice versa him beating on a woman. I'll be beating him like he was a woman."
"I grew up watching my mom and my stepdad fight just about every single damn day," Lewis added. "Fist fighting every day for stupid stuff. I don't tolerate stuff like that at all."
MMA Today's Jordan Patu and Bloody Elbow's Zane Simon are disappointed at the prospect of Hardy getting a shot in the UFC:
Hardy has ended all three of his amateur fights with first-round knockouts, two of which were inside a minute. The most recent—in Legacy Fighting Alliance 33 against Ryan Chester in February—lasted just 14 seconds.
Lewis is ranked sixth in the UFC's heavyweight division with a record of 19-5 and has won seven of his last eight fights.
Francis Ngannou will be his next opponent at UFC 226 on July 7. If Hardy impresses in his pro debut, it's possible he will have a UFC contract by then.