Former NFL star Greg Hardy’s professional mixed martial arts career is less than two years old yet has already featured a little bit of everything.
One thing that’s missing is a signature win.
He will have the opportunity to achieve that when he fights Alexander Volkov in the co-main event of the UFC Fight Night 163 card in Moscow on Saturday.
The card, which is headlined by a featherweight bout between Zabit Magomedsharipov and Calvin Kattar, will stream on ESPN-Plus at 11 a.m.
Hardy accepted the fight just days after he beat Ben Sosoli on Oct. 18 in a fight that was later changed to a no-contest because Hardy had used an inhaler between rounds. Volkov’s original opponent withdrew and the organization needed a name opponent to fill in.
“I wanted to hold it down for the UFC,” Hardy said this week at open workouts. “And when somebody like Volkov calls – a legend like that, man, such a dynamic striker – me being ‘The Prince of War,’ you’ve got to answer.”
In addition to the no-contest, Hardy’s young career has also featured a disqualification loss and five first-round knockout wins against overmatched opponents.
Hardy hopes to put on a show against his highest-profile opponent to date on Volkov’s home turf.
“The (fans) should expect a whole lot of war,” he said. “I love Russia. You guys are awesome. Sick country, man. I love you guys! And expect war, man. A whole lot of blood, a whole lot of fun, and a show!”
Hardy did get a bit of clarity on the use of the inhaler this week. While it’s not technically banned by USADA, most commission rules do prohibit their use during fights.
UFC officials announced this week Hardy will not be able to use it between rounds this week.
Reyes to get title shot
Corey Anderson threw a wrinkle into the UFC’s plans in the light heavyweight division last week with a thrilling knockout of Johnny Walker.
He hoped the performance would be enough to earn him a title bout against Jon Jones.
It’s apparently not going to happen.
“Just finished a coaches meeting studying Dominick and (Corey’s) careers,” Jones wrote on social media. “Established Dominick’s definitely the more dangerous fighter. Beating his (expletive) next. (Corey) moves when I say move.”
Anderson quickly responded.
“Ha. Okay Bones. I wouldn’t wanna fight me either,” he wrote.
There is no timetable on when the bout would take place.
McGregor’s manager issues denial
Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor’s manager issued a strong denial of two sexual assault allegations levied against the fighter over the last year.
“He vehemently denies any allegation of sexual misconduct or any wrongdoing,” Audie Attar said on ESPN this week. “We vehemently deny it, and he does as well. At the end of the day we know who he is, he knows who he is, and we know what the truth is.”
McGregor was also accused of being the father of a 2-year-old child in England, though a representative for McGregor told TMZ on Friday the star fighter had taken a DNA test to prove he is not the father.
McGregor has said he will fight in Las Vegas on Jan. 18, though the organization has not confirmed the news.
Attar said a deal is “imminent.”
Police have arrested a person of interest in the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard, the daughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris.
Ibraheem Yazeed was taken into custody early Friday morning in Florida on a charge of first-degree kidnapping.
Blanchard, 19, has been missing since Oct. 24 when she was last seen near her home in Auburn, Alabama.
Anyone with information on Blanchard’s whereabouts is asked to call the Auburn police at 334-501-3140.
Saturday: UFC Fight Night 163 (ESPN Plus), Moscow
Nov. 14: Bellator 234 (Paramount/DAZN), Tel Aviv
Nov. 16: UFC Fight Night 164 (ESPN Plus), Sao Paulo, Brazil
Dec. 7: UFC on ESPN (ESPN), Washington, D.C.
Dec. 14: UFC 245 (ESPN Plus), T-Mobile Arena