Greg Hardy’s official Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut proved to be less-than-stellar after the former NFL defensive end was disqualified for landing an illegal knee on Allen Crowder last Saturday night (Jan. 19, 2019) at UFC on ESPN+ 1 in Brooklyn, New York.
Afterward, the critics came out of the woodwork, slamming Hardy for the blow that ultimately forced the referee to put an end to the fight. Unfortunately for “The Prince of War,” it’s another black cloud over his head, as most weren’t giving him the benefit of the doubt due to his troubled past. Crowder, though, doesn’t believe the knee was intentional and blames the rookie mistake on lack of experience.
“I don’t think he was looking for a way out; I think it was more inexperience. He’s not been doing this very long. He stepped out to the side and I believe in his mind … I knew he knew he’s not allowed to throw that knee on the ground, but in the heat of the moment he forgot for a split second, threw the knee to get the finish,” he said on The MMA Hour.
“He made a mistake, another mistake of many mistakes. I don’t think he was trying to cop out, he’s a tough dude. It was just an inexperience type thing.”
Despite getting the win – the first of his UFC career – Crowder says it doesn’t feel as such. He did, however, accomplish one of his goals by proving that Hardy simply isn’t ready for the big stage.
“I wanted to show that he wasn’t ready for the UFC yet. You know what I mean? I feel like I’ve done that. I feel like I showed he wasn’t experienced, showed that he still has some work to do on the ground. He’s a strong guy, he got back up, most people I get on the ground they don’t get back up,” he added.
“I suffered a knee injury 12 weeks out, had a second degree tear on my MCL so I didn’t get to work on my ground game how I wanted to until that last couple of weeks. It is what it is. But, I feel like I got a lot, it got my name out there and a lot of people know who I am now. That feels really good, my Instagram has skyrocketed, 1000 followers in the last day. I think it’s going to set me up for a better future, for sure.”
While Crowder believes Hardy has the potential to become a great fighter with another five or six bouts under his belt, UFC President Dana White disagrees, saying that Greg is already a good fighter who will in fact get another shot inside the Octagon.
After all, if this guy got a chance at UFC redemption, why wouldn’t Hardy?