On Friday night, one of the most controversial figures in the UFC is set to make his return to the octagon. Greg Hardy is facing Ben Sosoli at UFC on ESPN 6 in a main card fight that figures to once again be a lightning rod bout for the former NFL All-Pro. Though Sosoli has a 7-2 professional record, he has only won one of his last four bouts and will be making his UFC debut this weekend, causing many critical fans to view this as a softball fight for the controversial Hardy. But for Hardy, it’s another chance to get back in the cage and keep improving, regardless of what his detractors have to say.
“Sometimes, you don’t get what you want,” Hardy said at the pre-fight scrum in Boston. “To throw a tantrum would be out of character so I just decided to listen to my coaches who got me here and just heard the words of my agents and take the ring time. It’s time for me to get in the ring, show some skills, make some right decisions, and move towards dominating in the top-15, not just competing or fighting in the top-15.”
However, Sosoli was not Hardy’s first idea of an opponent. The former Dallas Cowboy has hoped that after his demolition of Juan Adams at UFC San Antonio, he’d be primed for a bigger named opponent. But it was not to be and Hardy admits that at first he was “super pissed” at the UFC for what transpired.
“I was super pissed,” Hardy said. “It was a five-minute situation but off the wrap I was just like, alright, here we go again. 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, not slipping back to the old ways.”
People are mad at Hardy largely as a result of his controversial past. Hardy was found guilty of domestic violence in 2014, charges that were later overturned on appeal. However, Hardy’s move to MMA has made him a hot-button topic for a number of fans and a promotional push by the UFC has left a bad taste in many mouths. Even some UFC fighters like Derrick Lewis have shown an interest in rushing Hardy into bouts with the top names in the heavyweight division so he can get a perceived comeuppance. For Hardy, he knows he’s not there just yet, but he hopes after Sosoli he might be getting closer, because eventually he believes he’ll knock out guys like Lewis and even current champion Stipe Miocic.
“I don’t know if y’all remember but my whole point and objective in this takeover, so we’ll call it, is to earn it, show you that I am meant to be here, show that I didn’t take it and it is not a CM Punk,” Hardy said. “I earned it, paid every single due. Went through the circuit as an amateur, I fought my way up on the Contender Series like everyone else has, too. I’ve defended my position as a UFC fighter like everybody else does with regular opponents, because who the hell walks in and fights Derrick Lewis? You know what I mean.
“Now that I’m getting my mettle, now that I am clashing with the middle class of the UFC, I’m starting to develop. When it comes to the point where I can handle myself in the ring, be professional and put on a show, that is when we will go the top and it is not going to stop. It is going to be the same skill as this, every two months. I’m going to knock out Derrick, knock out [Francis] Ngannou, knock out Stipe, I might submit somebody, you don’t know… You get my point. It’s not going to stop.”
The reality is, so far Hardy has shown a great deal of promise as a heavyweight contender, and if he wasn’t saddled with the controversial past that he carries, he would likely be considered one of the best prospects in MMA; instead, Hardy is viewed by many with distaste, and the hope that eventually they’ll see him knocked unconscious. And for Hardy, he seems to have made peace with being a villain to many because at the end of the day, you’ll have to pay to see it happen, if it ever does.
“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,” Hardy 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.”
Greg Hardy faces Ben Sosoli on the main card of UFC on ESPN 6 this Friday.
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Heavy Hands. Discussing UFC Tampa, UFC Boston, and ONE Championship.
Happy birthday Frankie, see you in December.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 16, 2019
There you go White, make the bout. Give my purse to charity.
One for All! @ProperWhiskey
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 16, 2019
I been block by Aspen Ladd since she lied after missing weight against me but seeing her try to get a loss overturned in the name of equality makes me hope she stopped tagging #dontbeapussy on all her posts. Be a feminist all the time, not just when you trying to get sympathy
— Leslie Smith (@LeslieSmith_GF) October 16, 2019
Max Holloway is just the friggin’ best.
he’s really calling the shots! One of the core values on our team is “we work for Rush not Max” it focuses us on the longrun. We’re accountable to him in 10 years for all our decisions. He’s gotta be a better version of me. We want that more than we ever wanted any belt https://t.co/Na4jRAUt8L
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) October 16, 2019
Damn. Somehow I’m pro-Dillon Danis now.
I am so proud of this young man for taking me up on my offer and getting into the dojo. Showing up is half the battle and that applies to everything in this life. We’re all in this together, let’s go champ! pic.twitter.com/mRTpMFlW1n
— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) October 16, 2019
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Who wins the rematch this weekend?
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