Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at former NFL Pro Bowler Greg Hardy as he makes his much anticipated UFC debut against Allen Crowder striker at UFC on ESPN+ 1 in Brooklyn, New York.

Greg Hardy

Hometown: Millington, Tennessee
Age: 30
Height: 6’5”
Reach: 80.5”
Weight Class: Heavyweight
Camp: American Top Team
Career Record: 3-0
Key Wins: None
Key Losses: None

Background

After he left the NFL, Greg Hardy began training in MMA and his career has gotten off to a quick start. After he rolled off three victories as an amateur in less than six months, he was called on to make his professional debut on the Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series in 2018. Hardy fought twice on the Contender Series finishing both of his opponents in under a minute. Hardy fought one more time outside of the UFC (another knockout victory) to earn an opportunity to fight in the UFC in 2019.

Strengths

  • World class athlete
  • Professional sports pedigree
  • Big time knockout power
  • Really good counter right hand
  • Above average chin
  • Quick study


Weaknesses

  • Still very green
  • Limited professional fight experience
  • Submission game is limited
  • A lot of unknowns


Fighter Grade

Offensive Striking: C+
Striking Defense: C-
Knockout Power: A-
Athleticism / Speed: A+
Footwork: B
Chin: C-
Offensive Wrestling: D+
Takedown Defense: C-
Submissions: F
Conditioning: C
Intangibles: C

Overall Grade: C


Matchup with Allen Crowder

Greg Hardy makes his much-anticipated UFC debut on Saturday, January 19 against veteran Allen Crowder. While Hardy’s experience in MMA is limited, he has tremendous potential in the heavyweight division. From what I have seen from Hardy thus far, Crowder is in a lot of trouble. The athleticism gap between the two fighters is extreme. Expect Hardy to come out fast and look to blitz Crowder early in this fight to earn the finish. Crowder will look to slow down Hardy and may even attempt a takedown early in this bout. While Hardy is still raw, his takedown defense is good enough to thwart the attempts of Crowder. Hardy has beaten all of his opponents rather easily and I expect him to earn another first round knockout in this bout. Priced at -530 to win, -375 to win inside the distance, and -210 to win in round one, I don’t see any worthwhile odds to bet for this fight. It’s best to wait for a better opponent to get a price worth investing in.  

UFC Ceiling

Greg Hardy is likely the best athlete to ever compete in the UFC’s heavyweight division. The former pro football player and pro bowler has good hands and big-time knockout power. Hardy’s a finisher and has shown already in his career that he can find openings and put opponents away. He has all the tools to be competitive early and quickly jump into the top 15 of the division. He will need to stay healthy and continue to improve his all-around skills if he’s to ever to move beyond good fighter to potential title contender.

Fight Film

Check out Greg Hardy in some of his most recent fights:

Greg Hardy vs. Tebaris Gordon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfODxchRenA

Greg Hardy vs. Austen Lane

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXKE7TVJPGA