Former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy knocked out former NFL defensive end Austen Lane, in the very first minute of their UFC fight on Tuesday night.
The UFC Contender Series appearance is the first professional fight for Hardy. The former Cowboy breezed through three amateur bouts prior to his fight with Lane, and, given that Lane lasted a mere 57 seconds with Hardy, his first professional fight didn’t offer a significantly higher degree of difficulty.
Greg Hardy just knocked the living hell out of this dude in his first fight pic.twitter.com/tpfnlzTV3u
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) June 13, 2018
Lane came into the fight with a 4-0 record as a professional.
“This means everything. It’s awesome. I don’t really have the words,” Hardy said. “I got lucky, came in, did what I was supposed to do and it worked out.”
The sixth round, 175th overall pick NFL draftee first signed with the Panthers in 2010 but was let go in 2014 after he was convicted of domestic abuse and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Hardy spent a single season with the Dallas Cowboys after turning free agent in 2015 but has been out of the league since.
Hardy’s conviction was later vacated and his arrest expunged from his record. But the player found himself shunned by the league despite the cleansing of his record after photos of his girlfriend’s injuries were made public.
MMA kingpin Dana White has made mention of Hardy’s past as a domestic abuser saying that he still felt it was appropriate to give the former footballer a shot.
“I’m not saying he should be welcomed here,” White said according to Sporting News. “I’m saying, I’m a guy who believes that if you make a mistake, your life isn’t over forever. When you make mistakes, it’s about how you act from there on out.”
After his showing on Tuesday night, it’s clear that the UFC will be giving Hardy many more opportunities. Soon after the victory, the 29-year-old former Carolina Panther signed a developmental contract with the UFC.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn