Former Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy is now 2-0 in his professional mixed martial arts career.
Hardy defeated Tebaris Gordon during Dana White's Contender Series 16 that aired Tuesday from the Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas. The showdown was the heavyweight headliner in the fight card, and Hardy demonstrated the power and athleticism that made him a successful NFL player in the past with a stunning knockout victory in the first round.
He charged at Gordon right out of the gates and earned a knockout win in a mere 17 seconds by backing him against the cage and unleashing a blinding array of punches before the fight was called.
Hardy left no doubt who the better fighter was Tuesday.
He was 3-0 in amateur fights before he turned professional, and he defeated Austen Lane in 57 seconds in a head-turning professional debut, according to Ariel Helwani of ESPN.com. Tuesday's fight was the first of a four-fight contract Hardy has with UFC's parent company, Zuffa, even though it wasn't considered an official UFC fight, Helwani reported.
Despite the success, "Hardy's foray into mixed martial arts has been met with heavy criticism, in large part due to the fact that the former member of the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys was convicted in 2014 of assaulting a woman and communicating threats," Helwani wrote, before pointing out the domestic violence conviction was ultimately dismissed because the woman wouldn't testify.
Hardy has turned to MMA as he looks to move into another sport, and Tuesday's matchup represented a challenge.
Gordon sported a 3-0 record entering the fight, and all his wins came by knockout/technical knockout. Before the fight, he didn't hesitate to say he was faster and more powerful than Hardy, as UFC President Dana White shared:
That clearly didn't play out, though, as Hardy demolished Gordon before the challenger could even settle into the fight.
Hardy is a controversial figure in the MMA world, but he also looked like someone who can take on the majority of challengers during his display of dominance Tuesday.