CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – While he hoped for a step up in competition for his fourth UFC fight, Greg Hardy is here for the ride.
At a UFC on ESPN 6 media day held Wednesday, a lurking Hardy entered the room and thanked the media in attendance for having joined him.
After his most recent victory against Juan Adams at UFC on ESPN 4 in July, former NFL star Hardy made it clear he wanted a ranked opponent next. However, Hardy was booked against Jarjis Danho at UFC Singapore. He was moved to Friday’s event in Boston when Danho fell off that card.
Hardy (5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) will face a UFC debutant in Ben Sosoli (7-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on the main card, which airs on ESPN 2.
Having his hopes of a top-ranked opponent replaced by a relative unknown wasn’t easy for Hardy, but he’s over it and focused on the task at hand.
“Be humble,” Hardy told MMA Junkie. “Sometimes, you don’t get what you want. To throw a tantrum would be out of character. I just decided to listen to my coaches who got me here. (I) just heard the words of my agents and take the ring time.”
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While he didn’t put up much of an argument with his coaches, Hardy started to envision the headlines beating another unproven UFC heavyweight will generate.
“Here we go again,” Hardy said. “So he’s going to be a can as soon as I’m done. Man, they’re going to be mad at me again. You’ve got to go through this process, but why?
“Let’s just think about it. Before I pick up the phone and get crazy, let’s think about why. This is what got you here. This is the process: always readjusting, reassessing.”
A model citizen since signing with the UFC, Hardy’s past run-ins with the law are still a main talking point when it comes to the former NFL defensive end.
Hardy indicated he thinks the court of public opinion has been inconsistent with rulings. To those who call for his banishment from the UFC, Hardy said he’ll be happy to leave if the promotion implements a consistent rule across the board.
“If we’re going to implement a rule that anybody who’s had trouble with the law can’t fight, I’m down. I’ll quit,” he said. “If we’re going to implement a rule that anybody that’s been in trouble can’t fight, I’ll quit. It’s not the reality of things.
“We’re human – 100 percent of us are flawed. I’ll approach this like any situation in life. I’ve got to keep moving forward for the peers and people who are supporting me. There are too many people in this world who want to see me win, but I might get knocked out. You’ve got to buy a ticket to find out either way.”
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Since making the jump to MMA from the NFL, Hardy’s mantra has been “finding peace in the violence.”
According to Hardy, this mindset was absent from his football career. Coming over to MMA, Hardy was humbled. Being around some of the toughest fighters in the world made Hardy reassess.
“In football, I had it – but in a different way,” Hardy said. “It wasn’t peace in violence. It was I was home, and destruction. I was a darker soul. I was the kraken. I was the devil’s pet. It consumed me in a different way, coming to MMA and having to temper myself.
“… I had to adjust my perspective to survive. I had to adjust my perspective to continue to gain. I found peace in the violence. I found something I never found in football: the ability to weather the storm and continue on my own path. I’m righteous because I support my team and family. It’s about what I’m in and my journey and accepting people and their opinions about my journey.”