Allen Crowder, who didn’t fight at all in 2018, will return to the Octagon against a controversial figure in Greg Hardy this Saturday night on ESPN+.
Hardy who was a former pro-bowler in the NFL, was involved in an alleged domestic violence case which got him kicked out of the league. Now, he will be making his UFC debut against Crowder. And Crowder is ready.
“I was super excited,” Crowder told BJPENN.com, looking back on when the matchup was first offered to him. “I saw him fight when he was on the contender series and I was like ‘man that would be a good matchup.’ Then, they called me, I had all of 2018 off, and I was really looking forward to a fight and they called me late November and in January and said we have a fight for you against Greg Hardy in Brooklyn, New York. Everything lined up perfectly and I’m just excited about it.”
Although Hardy is making his UFC debut, Crowder is not taking him lightly. He knows all of the former football players wins have come via finish in the first round. Because of that, Crowder feels he has to stick to his game plan to get his hand raised on Saturday.
“In the heavyweight division, you have to worry about anyone knocking you out,” he said. “If you make a mistake you are going to pay for it. You always have to worry about that knockout power. I don’t plan on letting him get that knockout shot. I have been working hard for this fight.
“I’m trying to be more of a technical fighter, obviously I am a lighter guy compared to more heavyweights,” Crowder continued. “So, I’m trying to make a game plan, and I have a pretty good game plan in mind. I would like to outclass him in boxing, I’m not just trying to stand in the middle and throw punches but I would like to get that knockout standing up.”
Although Crower is approaching this fight like any other, he has received tons of messages from fans hoping he can knock Hardy out.
“I definitely don’t condone anything he has done, but I’m not God and only God can judge what he has done,” he said. “I just want to win because that is the sport and that is what I plan to do. What he has done in the past, I hope he gets right with God and never makes the mistake again.
“I’m hoping to give him his first loss, I fight to win,” he continued. That is the game plan.”
Crowder doesn’t just plan on beating Greg Hardy, he plans on knocking him out. He has visualized this fight over and over, and he sees himself winning by knockout every time. He’s even expecting a performance bonus for his handiwork.
“I want that $50,000 bonus for the knockout,” Crowder said. “He has knocked out four people and I plan on turning the tides and switching it up on him.”
Crowder knows this is a tough fight. However, he feels like with all the experience he has, he will be able to outclass Hardy. If he can do that and defeat Hardy, he believes it will make him a much bigger star in the heavyweight division, and supercharge his climb up the rankings.
“That puts me on top. A lot of people want me to win because of his past but I want to win for myself. Me beating him, that gets my name out there gets me bigger fights,” he said. “I got a four-fight contract when I won on the contender series which isn’t for much money. When I beat him I may get some sponsors and when I re-negotiate my next contract I may get some good money. It pushes me up a lot faster.”
It’s officially fight week and anticipation is high. Crowder will be fighting on the first ever ESPN card and will be the co-main event. Everything is going his way and he can’t wait to continue that on Saturday night and be $50,000 richer.
“I’m looking to show that I’m a great fighter,” he concluded. “That I’m up there with the best, and I can put on a great show and I belong with the best of the best.”
Do you think Allen Crowder will be able to defeat Greg Hardy this Saturday?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/14/2019.