Report: Greg Hardy to Fight Dmitrii Smoliakov at UFC Fight Night Event in April

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 4, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 19: Greg Hardy waits as officials decide whether to disqualify him after an illegal move in heavyweights fight against Allen Crowder at UFC Fight Night at Barclays Center on January 19, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Former NFL star Greg Hardy will reportedly step back in the Octagon for his second UFC fight next month.

Per ESPN.com's Ariel Helwani, Hardy is expected to fight Dmitrii Smoliakov at the UFC Fight Night event on April 27.

Hardy made his UFC debut in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 143 on Jan. 19 against Allen Crowder. The former Pro Bowl defensive end was disqualified in the second round for hitting an illegal knee strike.

It was the first defeat of Hardy's brief mixed martial arts career in four matches. Smoliakov has lost each of his two fights in UFC after an 8-0 record in other promotions. His last appearance was a TKO loss to Cyril Asker at UFC Fight Night 103 in January 2017.

Hardy announced in 2016 he was training for a career in MMA. The 30-year-old played six seasons from 2010 to 2015 with the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys.

He was arrested in May 2014 on charges of assault and communicating threats to an ex-girlfriend. A jury found him guilty of both charges, and he was sentenced to 18 months probation, but the charges were dismissed on appeal after the victim didn't appear in court.

Hardy won his first three MMA matches either via knockout or TKO, including two in Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series.