Former NFL player Greg Hardy may not have found much success in the UFC’s Octagon during his 4-4 (+1nc) run there before being released, but last night he picked up a notable win in the boxing ring against Hasim Rahman Jr.
It had actually been retired UFC legend Vitor Belfort who had originally been scheduled to fight Rahman Jr at the event, but when he withdrew due to Covid it was the 34-year-old Hardy who was drafted in on a short notice replacement to face him instead.
And in fairness to Rahman Jr, who was 12-1 heading into this fight and is the son of former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman, he agreed to the fight even although Hardy would weigh in a whopping 94lbs heavier than him at 320lbs – well over 50lbs heavier than when he was competing in the UFC.
Even so, it was actually Rahman Jr who won the opening round, landing multiple clean punches against the bigger man.
However, Hardy demonstrated his raw power early in the second round when he sent Rahman Jr’s mouthpiece flying with an extended barrage of punches against the ropes and then had to cover up in desperation as his opponent continued to tee off on him.
Rahman Jr survived that and eventually got his mouthpiece back in, and just in time too as not long afterwards Hardy blocked a punch and then hammered home a counter right that sent him to the canvas.
To his credit, after taking the count Rahman Jr was able to land a left hand that staggered Hardy backwards in the final 10 seconds of the round, though in his eagerness to press forward after that he walked straight into a left that backed him up again.
There’s no doubt that big second round from Hardy took much of the wind out of Rahamn Jr’s sails and simultaneously it was evident that confidence was now surging through his opponent, who started to settle more into his boxing fundamentals in the rounds that followed, working the jab and landing counters along with his power punches to ensure that after the four-rounder he would emerge with a unanimous decision victory (39-36 x3).
This was a much-needed win for Hardy as he’d failed to make an impact with competing in MMA. Starting out his career on the Contender Series, Hardy had showed off his heavy hands with back-to-back TKO victories, but an uninspiring UFC debut that saw him lose by DQ due to an illegal blow against Allen Crowder set the tone for an underwhelming stint in the promotion.
He did pick up some more TKO wins along the way as he continued to be paired up against low-level heavyweights, but when the time came to step up in competition he faltered, suffering a second round TKO loss against Marcin Tybura in 2020, followed by a first round KO defeat to Tai Tuivasa and then a 1st round TKO loss against Sergey Spivak back in March, which led to his release from the UFC, leaving him with an overall 7-5 (+1nc) record in MMA competition.
Since then Hardy has signed a multi-fight deal with the Bare-Knuckle Fighting Championship promotion.
Watch the full Greg Hardy vs. Hasim Rahman Jr fight below courtesy of DAZN.