After three fast victories to start his pro MMA career, the former NFL star will step into the Octagon for the first time against Allen Crowder on the UFC’s first ESPN+ card Jan. 19 in Brooklyn,
sources confirmed with MMA Fighting on Wednesday. ESPN was the first to report the news Tuesday night.
Hardy, 30, has won all three of his pro fights — all this year — by knockout or TKO in less than a minute. Two of those quick stoppages came on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series last summer.
He is a high-level heavyweight MMA prospect — perhaps one of the best ever due to his incredible athleticism — but comes with a significant amount of baggage.
In 2014, Hardy was convicted on domestic violence charges, a case that was dropped after a Hardy appeal when the alleged victim did not appear in court to testify.
Law enforcement was unable to locate her and speculation was that she and Hardy came to a financial settlement agreement.
Hardy, who now trains at American Top Team in Florida, was cut by the Dallas Cowboys in 2016, following a tumultuous season in which he got into it with the team’s head coach and his teammates.
He was arr*sted in November 2016 for possession and sentenced to two years of probation in March 2017 after a plea deal.
Hardy addressed his past this past summer at Dana White’s Contender Series. He said most people don’t have an issue with him if they get to know him and he’s setting out to prove “haters” wrong.
“All I can say is, I’ll be worried when they meet me and then they have a problem with me,” Hardy said. “That’s when I need to change something, see God, see my mom, see these people and readjust. But for right now, God bless them. Like I said, keep watching and I’ll keep proving you wrong. I don’t mind the confrontation.”