Despite a shaky start to his Octagon career, former NFL player Greg Hardy has been making moves in the heavyweight division. He has bounced back from a disqualification loss in his UFC debut in his two subsequent bouts, securing two first-round TKOs.
Needless to say, he’s powerful.
When we think of other heavyweight powerhouses, Francis Ngannou is one of the first names that come to mind. However, Greg Hardy doesn’t believe Ngannou possesses the same athletic gifts that he does.
“Francis Ngannou is a fighter that has athletic ability,” Hardy said on the Slip ‘n’ dip podcast (transcript via MMA news). “He’s not an athlete. Just seeing what happened to Francis with Stipe was a warning, but from the beginning, I always told everybody I want to be a well-rounded fighter. I don’t want to focus on one thing and be one-dimensional. I want to be a man. And the only way you can do that is to take over.”
Hardy believes a lack of athleticism is a common occurrence among fighters on the UFC roster and that his athleticism will be the defining factor for his future success.
“I don’t think there’s that many [athletes] out there though,” he said. “It’s starting to come alive. It’s starting to be OK to come over, but most people been in the fight game so long they lost [athleticism] and conformed to the basic movement.”
While Hardy doesn’t see a lot of athletes in the UFC heavyweight division, he did praise his fellow American Top Team fighter Amanda Nunes for her impressive athleticism.
Do you agree that heavyweight fighters like Francis Ngannou aren’t performing at the same athletic level as Greg Hardy? How do you think Ngannou will respond to this comment?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/31/2019.