Troubled former NFL All-Pro Greg Hardy has been looking to jump-start his athletic career again by switching over to mixed martial arts. So much so, in fact, that Hardy has been training with American Top Team and has reportedly been sleeping at the gym in between training sessions. And one of his teammates believes that the 28-year-old former sixth-round draft pick could make his UFC debut in the next 24 months.
Former UFC heavyweight contender Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and coach Steve Bruno both believe that Hardy has what it takes to compete for the biggest MMA promotion in the world and that his debut in the UFC could take place before 2019.
“He’s a very smart boy, he’s big, he trains every day, he’s [got] dedication for this new career,” Silva said to TMZ. “He’s a big guy with a lot of power. He trains a lot of Muay Thai…his conditioning is really good because he’s an ex-NFL guy.”
A 2010 draft pick by the Carolina Panthers, Hardy earned second-team All Pro honors after recording a 15-sack season. However, his career was detoured by his off the field transgressions in 2014 when he was found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and was sidelined the following season. He was sentenced to 18 months probation but the charges were later dropped. He joined the Dallas Cowboys for the 2015 season and had a suspension reduced from 10 to four games. He had a relatively mediocre season with the Cowboys and was not resigned after the season. Instead of joining another NFL team, Hardy decided to move to Florida and pursue a career in MMA by training with American Top Team.
“We don’t care about the past, we care about the future,” ATT coach Steve Bruno said in regards to his checkered past. “He’s actually going to be a part of Bigfoot Silva’s training camp for his next fight in Russia. He’ll be sparring Bigfoot, so that’s definitely something I’ll be posting videos here and there.”
Silva believes that Hardy could make the jump to the UFC in the next couple of years while Bruno expects that he could be in action for a smaller promotion this summer.
“He’s going to be getting hit, he’s going to have to wrestle, he’s going to be getting hit with MMA gloves. He’s going to feel what it’s like to get hit by another true heavyweight,” Bruno said. “I would say, he could be in there on the small shows, the local shows by this summer, no problem.”
Popular UFC video on Yahoo Sports: