Greg Hardy's transition from an embattled NFL Pro Bowler to a legitimate UFC heavyweight continues to produce damaging results for the opposition.
The 32-year-old Hardy, fresh off of his first camp with a new team in South Florida, improved to 7-2 (1 NC) by overwhelming Maurice Greene with power shots en route to a second-round TKO at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.
The win was the second straight for Hardy since a 2019 step-up loss to Alexander Volkov in which Hardy showed plenty of strong intangibles. Although he expended a ton of energy doing so, Hardy looked nothing but explosive against Greene (9-5), whose height advantage at 6-foot-7 failed to materialize into any success.
"Incredible," Hardy said. "This just feels incredible."
Hardy flashed his natural power early in the opening round when he floored Greene with an overhand right and appeared on the verge of a stoppage after landing clean strikes from top position on the ground.
Unable to finish Greene, Hardy chose to stand back up as he continues to get comfortable under head trainers Din Thomas and UFC Hall of Famer Rashad Evans.
"It's my first time down there [fighting on the ground] consciously. I put myself in a situation and worked it out," Hardy said. "I just tried to get as much as I could down there while staying safe before getting back up and finishing the fight the way I know how."
Hardy stepped up the pressure in Round 2 and began to score with hooks to the body and stiff jabs. A counter jab then caught Greene coming in and dropped him hard. Hardy took his time to land a flurry of big shots from full mount until the fight was stopped at 1:12.
A controversial signing for UFC in 2018 after being run out of the NFL following domestic violence issues and various legal troubles, Hardy has flirted with a few minor controversies since, including becoming the first UFC heavyweight to come in over the 265-pound limit on Friday. He later made weight.
Despite an early disqualification loss and a 2019 victory that was changed to a no decision when he used an illegal inhaler between rounds, Hardy has only come up empty in the fight to Volkov. He continues to improve at a steady pace and credits Thomas and Evans for being a big part of that after leaving American Top Team.
"It has been epic," Hardy said. "A big example is when we went to the ground. It was my first time down there and I had time to think about all of our drills and times in camp down there working through stuff. Just those little bit of details helped me get through the decision making and getting back to what we know and love with knockouts."
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The win was Hardy's second since the quarantine began and asked when he wants to return, Hardy expressed just how ready he was for anything.
"What are you all doing next week?" Hardy said. "I ain't got nothing going on. Let's do it."