One of the NFL’s token bad boys may be walking off the football field for good. Greg Hardy, former Panthers and Cowboys defensive end, has decided to take a break from football and pursue a career in MMA fighting instead. “I’m very focused and excited to start my MMA career,” Hardy said in a statement to MMAFighting.com. “I’m going to do this the right way, I can assure you of that.”
According to the website, Hardy does not have a lot of experience in martial arts, making this career change a pretty unexpected one. However, he has spent the last few months training and it seems to be paying off already, as a number of promotions are interested in signing him. If everything goes as planned, Hardy will be making his MMA debut in 2017 as a heavyweight fighter.
Hardy played with the Panthers for five seasons and then most recently with the Cowboys last season. However, his past few years in the NFL have been laced with controversy as he was dealing with a bevy of personal issues, including allegations of domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend and an arrest for cocaine possession last month. The Cowboys passed on re-signing him after the 2015 season was over, given that he wasn’t as productive on the field as the team had hoped, and he has been a free agent ever since.
There’s no word on whether or not Hardy will ever return to the game of football, but given his “history”, this might be his true calling after all.