Greg Hardy makes his second UFC appearance at UFC Fight Night Fort Lauderdale, facing Dmitri Smoliakov in a heavyweight division affair.
The former NFL star suffered a DQ loss to Allen Crowder at UFC Fight Night Brooklyn and admits that the reaction to the loss shook Hardy to his core.
“In a game where it all lies on what you do in that cage, it’s hard to walk out a loser,” Hardy on Monday told MMA Junkie. “I’m not one – anybody can check out my history – I’ve dealt with it terribly in the past, and I’ve dealt with it great before, but it’s all the same outcome. I hate losing. I’m not a loser, I’m not a cheater. I said when I first came into this business: I earned everything that I have right now. I’ve taken every opportunity. Anybody that wanted to stop me could’ve jumped in my way and knocked me out and took care of business. That’s how I do things. It kind of shook me to my core when I came out the ring and everybody’s standpoint was, ‘He’s a cheater.’ It kind of threw me off a bit.”
Controversy has followed the former NFL star since he was signed by the UFC, carrying the baggage of past domestic abuse allegations that haunted Hardy during the fighter’s football days.
Hardy also says that fans can expect to see a much improved fighter in his second UFC appearance.
“That’s the cool thing about me, I advance fast,” Hardy said. “I worked my whole life to be an athlete, to be physically capable of whatever a coach needs me to be capable of. I adapt very fast. In this couple of months we’ve trained hard, we’ve focused on the fighter instead of advancing just the individual skills like we always do. You guys could hope to see a calm Greg Hardy, a Greg Hardy that’s here to fight. There’s no more searching for a knockout. I’m claiming to be ‘The Prince of War.’ We’re going to be here for war. Let’s fight it out. Whatever he wants, wherever he wants to go we’re going to make it pretty, we’re going to entertain.”
UFC Fight Night Fort Lauderdale takes place on Saturday, April 27 from the BB&T Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with Yoel Romero and Ronaldo Souza headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on ESPN.