Reports: Ex-NFL standout Greg Hardy to make pro debut with UFC's Dana White's Contender Series


After a trio of amateur fights, former NFL standout Greg Hardy apparently is ready to turn pro in MMA. Hardy (0-0), according to reports from MMA Today and MMAFighting.com, will turn pro later this year as part of the UFC's fighter-search show Dana White's Contender Series. There has been no official announcement from the UFC. Hardy, according to the report, will meet Brandon Sayles (2-1) on a June 12 edition of the show. Dana White's Contender Series debuted in Summer 2017. Each of eight weekly episodes, streamed on UFC Fight Pass, featured five fights. At the end of the night, UFC President Dana White picked typically two fighters to come to the UFC with contracts. Hardy, who has been training with American Top Team as a heavyweight, made his amateur debut this past November and picked up a 32-second TKO win. His second fight was three times as long, but he finished with a head-kick TKO. In February, he took out Ryan Chester at LFA 33 in an amateur bout in just 14 seconds. But Hardy's very entry into MMA came with controversy in 2016 when he announced his intention to start training following his football career and said he wanted to get to the UFC. Hardy was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend in July 2014, only to have the charges dropped after the alleged victim refused to testify in his appeal. Hardy played for the Carolina Panthers at the time, but despite the team initially planning to let him play after the charges were dropped, it reversed course, deactivated him and placed him on the exempt list. That ended his career with the Panthers, and he signed with the Dallas Cowboys the following spring. A month after he signed with the Cowboys, the NFL suspended him for 10 games without pay for violating the league's conduct policy. That suspension was reduced to four games, and he finished out the season in Dallas. But after the season, the team chose to not re-sign him, and none of the other 31 teams in the league went after the defensive end before the next season. While he still was playing for the Cowboys, the domestic violence charges against him were expunged from his record. But then photos of his ex-girlfriend's alleged injuries at his hands surfaced. In September 2016, he was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance in Texas. Hardy, a Tennessee native, was a sixth-round pick in the NFL Draft out of Mississippi in 2010. His NFL career lasted from 2010-2015. In 2013, he made the Pro Bowl after setting a Panthers record with 15 sacks, passing the mark set by Kevin Greene in 1996. Hardy was listed as 6-foot-4 and 281 pounds when he entered the NFL Draft, so his potential MMA future almost certainly will be as a heavyweight. But despite being considered a potential top pick a year prior, when he passed on coming out of college as a junior and returned to Ole Miss for a senior season, his stock tumbled in the 2010 draft and he dropped to the sixth round. When Hardy announced his intentions to start an MMA career, Wh…

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