Hardy expressed his belief that making an impact in the UFC can potentially change the outside perception of him, saying, "It would be best to meet me, give me an opportunity. ... I think I can win a lot of people back over to my side."
The 29-year-old earned a UFC contract by virtue of a knockout win over fellow former NFL player Austen Lane in 57 seconds during Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series on Tuesday.
Tuesday marked Hardy's first professional bout after going 3-0 with three first-round knockouts as an amateur.
With regard to joining the UFC, Hardy said, "I'm feeling great. I'm feeling positive. I'm feeling excited. I'm ready to go ... ready to take this next step and see where it takes us."
Hardy was an NFL Pro Bowler with the Carolina Panthers in 2013 after registering 15 sacks, but he was limited to one game the following season due to allegations of assault by his former girlfriend.
In 2014, Hardy was found guilty of assault and communicating threats, but the charges were dismissed and later expunged from his record when the accuser did not make herself available during Hardy's appeal.
Hardy played for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, but after no team was willing to sign him, he transitioned to MMA.
Hardy appears to have a bright future in the sport, but UFC President Dana White suggested Wednesday that Hardy could be built up with a series of preparatory fights before a UFC debut.