I know a lot of fans (and fighters) in the mixed martial arts (MMA) community are coming down hard on Greg Hardy, after the former gridiron goon told ESPN that he’s expecting to become the greatest heavyweight of all time.
I suppose it’s easy to be supremely confident when facing (cough) “competition” like Dmitry Smoliakov, who folded so quickly at UFC Ft. Lauderdale he managed to mail himself back to Kaliningrad in a self-addressed envelope.
Besides, that’s exactly the kind of attitude you need when stepping into a steel cage to let another grown man try to kill you. But maybe “The Prince of Pain,” who hasn’t ruled out a move to the “sweet science,” can do himself a few favors and ease off the gas pedal just a little bit.
“I found a nice spot in boxing. I’m starting to develop a love for it, a like for it, and a yearning to actually get in there and try it out,” Hardy said. “I think, with the blessing of the big man upstairs, that it’s something I would love to look into and start fighting pretty soon and wet my feet. I think I could be one of – if not the – the greatest fight sports heavyweight of all-time. Not even just MMA, just the greatest combat sports heavyweight. I’m versatile, you know?”
Hardy, who turns 31 later this month, has a long way to go before achieving combat sports immortality. Step one begins this Sat. night (July 20, 2019) in the UFC San Antonio co-main event, where he’s scheduled to throw hands against fellow heavyweight bruiser, Juan Adams.
Safe to say “The Kraken” does not share his outlook.
“Greg Hardy has fought cans,” Adams told MMA Junkie. “Even in the UFC, they’re going as far as to sign guys they’ve previously cut to give him an opportunity to look good, whereas my second fight in the promotion was Arjan Bhullar, who was 8-1. They’re trying to market him as this superstar athlete or crazy MMA talent, and he hasn’t displayed any of the skills.”
Promotion president, Dana White, does not agree.
“One of my buddies keeps sending me screenshots of what his coaches said,” Adams continued. “He keeps calling me ‘fat boy’ and stuff like that, but Greg’s fatter than I am. He’s only shown to be aggressive when the guys don’t hit back. You look at his first Contender Series fight – (Austen Lane) jabbed him a couple times and he didn’t really have any answer for it. He looked lost out there until he landed his punch. And with Greg, what it boils down to is that he’s a bully. He can only excel when the other person is afraid of him – and I’m not afraid of him.”
Hardy (4-1) is starting to put some distance between himself and the domestic violence controversy that accompanied his transition to cage fighting. Now, Hardy seems to be upsetting people for entirely new reasons, like calling himself the Michael Jordan of MMA.
It’s up to Adams (5-1) to prove otherwise this Saturday night on ESPN.