Nothing makes for an intriguing mixed martial arts fight like a couple of formerly troubled NFL pass rushers.Two days after former San Diego Chargers pass rusher Shawne Merriman said he was happy for ex-Carolina Panthers Pro Bowler Greg Hardy getting "his life back on track" in MMA, the latter has green-lighted a potential fight with Merriman.
The NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2005, Merriman retired from the Buffalo Bills in 2012 but is making his debut with the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation in November. And after suggesting Sunday that he'd "love" the opportunity to go against Hardy, Merriman appears to have a willing opponent in his fellow ex-NFL star.
Hardy, who has parlayed a foray into MMA into a developmental UFC contract since an unceremonious departure from the Dallas Cowboys after 2015, said on Instagram this week that he'd "enjoy" fighting Merriman down the road.
"All I'm saying is if you like entertainment as much as I do, you would (definitely) enjoy this one," he wrote. "Pro-Bowl battle royal (sic) ... let's make it happen, baby."
that earned him an NFL suspension, Hardy has attempted to remake his image in the ring, where he of Austen Lane, another football alumnus, at the UFC's "Tuesday Night Contender Series" this summer. Before turning to MMA, he was an All-Pro defensive end for the Panthers (2010-2014) and Cowboys, although his final NFL season was reduced to 12 games as a result of his four-game ban.
Merriman played six years with the Chargers to start his NFL career before playing with the Bills, logging three Pro Bowl appearances. His career was not without controversy, either, however, as he served a 2006 suspension for steroid use and was charged in 2009 with battery of his ex-girlfriend. Those charges were dismissed, and Merriman played through the 2012 season.