Junior dos Santos was recently forced out of his UFC Moscow headlining fight with Alexander Volkov. He’ll be replaced a very unlikely fighter: former football player Greg Hardy.
UPDATE: This Hardy vs. Volkov fight will serve as the UFC Moscow co-headliner. A featherweight bout between Calvin Kattar and Zabit Magomedsharipov will now headline the card.
This surprising news was first reported by ESPN.
Breaking: “When is Greg Hardy going to take a step up in competition?” The answer is Nov. 9, as he’s agreed to replace Junior dos Santos against Alexander Volkov in Moscow. According to Hardy’s agent Malki Kawa, this was at his request. More soon at @espn. pic.twitter.com/pgb1wUMXL5
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) October 22, 2019
“‘When is Greg Hardy going to take a step up in competition?’ The answer is Nov. 9, as he’s agreed to replace Junior dos Santos against Alexander Volkov in Moscow. According to Hardy’s agent Malki Kawa, this was at his request.” – ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto on Twitter.
As Okamoto says, Hardy is alleged to have asked for this fight, which represents a gargantuan step up in competition.
The former NFL player, who was blackballed from the league amid an ugly domestic violence scandal, has fought just six times as a professional mixed martial artist.
After three wins outside the UFC, he debuted with the promotion earlier this year. In his first UFC bout, he was disqualified for blasting Allen Crowder with an illegal knee. He then rebounded with back-to-back TKO wins over Dmitry Smolyakov and Juan Adams.
Hardy made his most recent walk to the cage at UFC Boston last weekend, where he defeated Ben Sosoli by unanimous decision — the first three-round fight on his record. This bout was then promptly ruled a No Contest, as Hardy used an inhaler between rounds.
Alexander Volkov, meanwhile, has fought almost 40 times against some of the best heavyweights in the world. A former Bellator heavyweight champion, the Moscow native has been with the UFC since 2016. In that time, he’s gone 4-1, defeating stars like Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson and Fabricio Werdum, and losing only to former title challenger Derrick Lewis via last-second knockout.
How do you think Greg Hardy will perform in this shocking, short-notice fight with the established top-10 heavyweight Alexander Volkov? Will this be his coming out party, or is he in over his head?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/22/2019.