Greg Hardy finally got that step up in competition everyone has been clamoring for. At UFC Moscow, the former NFL star stepped up on short notice to take on Alexander Volkov, who was a top-10 heavyweight.
The fight did not go Hardy;s way as he lost by decision. But, according to American Top Team owner Dan Lambert, he believes that loss will be crucial in Hardy’s career.
“I think Greg Hardy will look back on that loss and it will be the pivotal moment in his career. That loss will do more for him than any win would do for him,” Lambert said to BJPENN.com. “The guy was a professional football player and just started doing MMA like two years ago. He gets in there and got into there with a legit top-10 fighter with a bad hand and was competitive. I think it will do wonders for his confidence. You will see a better Greg Hardy because of this fight.”
Meanwhile, part of the reason why Hardy did not have success in the fight was due to his hand injury. It was apparent he hurt his right hand in the fight, but according to Lambert, his hand was badly injured following the Ben Sosoli fight and they were surprised he took this scrap.
“His hand was jacked up after the fight to Ben Sosoli. He sent me a picture and his hand was like three times his actual size,” he explained. “I was surprised he took the fight but he told me he wanted it. Then, his hand got re-jacked up in that fight but he still stood with Volkov.”
Yet, injuries happen and Hardy and ATT are not making excuses. They know he is a top-15 heavyweight and hope a ranked opponent is next for Hardy.
“Rankings at heavyweight are a little different because it is not the deepest division. Once you get a little lower past seven or eight, there is not a huge separation between anybody. I don’t think it matters who it is,” Lambert said of Hardy’s next opponent.
One thing fans can be sure about is that Greg Hardy will not be fighting five times in 2020 as he did in 2019. Lambert believes that it is too unrealistic to do again.
“You don’t see runs like that in any weight. I’d be surprised he fought five times next year but he likes to train and likes to fight so we will see,” Lambert concluded.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/26/2019.