Gregory McKarl Hardy (born July 28, 1988) is an American mixed martial artist and former American football defensive end. He played college football at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Hardy was named to the Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro following the 2013 NFL season in which he recorded a career high 15 sacks. Hardy's 15 sacks in 2013 is currently the Carolina Panthers single season franchise record. Hardy also played for the Dallas Cowboys.
Hardy with the Dallas Cowboys in 2015
|Born:||July 28, 1988|
|Height:||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Weight:||265 lb (120 kg)|
|High school:||Briarcrest (Memphis, TN)|
|NFL Draft:||2010 / Round: 6 / Pick: 175|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
On July 15, 2014, Hardy was found guilty of assaulting an ex-girlfriend, and sentenced to 18 months probation as well as being suspended for 10 games by the NFL (the suspension was reduced to 4 games after arbitration). Hardy appealed his conviction, and the case was dismissed after the victim failed to appear in court to testify, but Hardy's arrest and trial were the focus of considerable controversy.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Football career
- 3 Domestic violence charges and suspension
- 4 Mixed martial arts career
- 5 Mixed martial arts record
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Hardy attended Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was a three-sport letterman in football, basketball and track. In football, he helped lead his team to the state championship in 2004. As a senior, he was credited with 65 tackles, including 12 for loss and six sacks, while also receiving 48 passes for 268 yards. Hardy played with offensive tackle Michael Oher at both Briarcrest Christian School and Ole Miss. In basketball, he was an honorable mention All-State as a junior.
In track & field, Hardy earned a letter competing as a sprinter and shot putter. In sprints, he ran the 200-meter dash in 24.04 seconds as a sophomore. In the shot put, he got a top-throw of 14.47 meters (47 ft, 2 in). In addition, he also recorded a 4.8-second 40-yard dash and had a 28-inch vertical jump.
Hardy was considered a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, and was ranked No. 30 among weakside defensive end prospects, No. 44 according to Scout.com. He was an All-State pick who was rated as the No. 5 player in Tennessee by Super Prep, No. 8 by Scout.com and No. 12 by Rivals.com. He was also named All-Metro by The Commercial Appeal.
Hardy accepted a football scholarship from the University of Mississippi. As a freshman, he played in all 12 games, with 9 starts at left defensive end. He posted 49 tackles (fifth on the team), 3 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. He spent time at wide receiver against Mississippi State University, making a 23 yards touchdown reception.
As a sophomore, he played in 10 games out of 12 games with four starts at defensive end. He tallied 64 tackles (fourth on the team), 10 sacks (led the conference), 18.5 tackles for loss (second in the conference), 3 forced fumbles and 2 touchdown receptions on offense.
As a junior, he missed the first three games after having foot surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot. He played in 9 out of 13 games because of injuries, recording 18 tackles, 8.5 sacks (third in the conference), 9.5 tackles for loss, 3 quarterback pressures, one interception and one pass defensed. Hardy was considered one of the best pass rushers eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft but he elected to return to Ole Miss for his senior season.
In January 2009, he underwent a second surgery to his right foot during the off-season. On July 12, 2009, he was involved in a car accident along with teammate Dexter McCluster, where he aggravated the foot injury and was put back in a walking cast.
As a senior, he appeared in 9 out of 13 games (including the Cotton Bowl Classic), after missing the final three regular-season contests because of a surgery on his fractured left wrist. He registered 16 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks (tied for third on the team), 4 quarterback pressures, 3 passes defensed and one fumble recovery. Hardy finished his college career with 39.5 career tackles for loss and 26.5 sacks.
In the 2006-07 basketball season, he played in 15 games (one start), while averaging just under one point and two rebounds per contest. His best performance came against the two-time national champion University of Florida in the semifinals of the 2007 SEC Tournament, where he had 6 points and 4 rebounds.
|Ht||Wt||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 4 in
|4.79 s||1.67 s||2.82 s||4.62 s||7.13 s||36 in
|10 ft 1 in
|All values from Mississippi Pro Day|
In the April 2009 edition of Sports Illustrated, Hardy was named the top prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft. However injuries, poor production, and an unimpressive combine caused his draft stock to fall significantly.
Hardy was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round (175th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was signed to a contract on June 17, 2010. Hardy managed to record a blocked punt for a safety as well as force a fumble and record 4 tackles in his rookie debut.
Although Hardy had played in 15 games his rookie year, he had started none. He did however, finish the year with 30 tackles, 3 sacks, two forced fumbles, and the aforementioned safety.
Hardy recorded 11 sacks in 2012 in spite of sustaining a broken thumb in September.
On June 11, 2013, Hardy spoke to reporters during a summer minicamp claiming his goal for sacks in the 2013 season to be 50. Regarding such a lofty number, more than twice the current record, Hardy stated, "Why shoot low, right? If I'm going to shoot at it, I'm going to shoot at it with a 50 caliber. I'm going to shoot at a little bird with a 50-caliber bullet. That's the goal for this year, 50 sacks, that's where I'm at. That's the goal, 50. You heard it first."
In a road victory against the Atlanta Falcons, Hardy finished with a single game team record four sacks. He ended up recording a team-record 15 sacks, earning his first trip to the 2014 Pro Bowl and being named a second-team All Pro by the Associated Press. The Panthers defense finished first in the NFL with 60 sacks in 2013, second in points per game, and third in DVOA team defense. He was ranked 53rd in the NFL Top 100 for his breakout performance in the 2013 NFL Season.
Hardy was set to become a free agent during the 2014 offseason, but it was announced on February 28, 2014 that the Panthers had placed the franchise tag on him, allowing him to return to the field for them during the 2014 season. Hardy played the first game of the 2014 season, but was placed on the commissioner's exempt list while his domestic violence case played out. He remained there for the rest of the season.
In March 2015, the Panthers decided not to re-sign Hardy. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson made the decision to cut ties with Hardy. Despite requests from players and coaches to let Hardy have another chance, Richardson said that he made the decision not to do so because "we do the right things."
On March 18, 2015, Hardy signed as a free agent a one-year, $11.3 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys were looking for him to be a difference-maker at right defensive end and as expected, were criticized by the public and the media for the signing.
On April 22, Hardy was suspended for the first 10 games of the 2015 season without pay due to violating the NFL Personal Conduct Policy. On July 10, the NFL reduced it to a 4-game suspension, in order to avoid a possible legal action on Hardy's part.
His first game after the suspension came against the New England Patriots. He had a strong performance in the first half with two sacks and five hits on quarterback Tom Brady, but was mostly contained in the second half, after the Patriots made a series of offensive adjustments. Against the Seattle Seahawks, he tipped a pass from Russell Wilson and intercepted it.
After his quick start, although he played with a high effort, he struggled with his technique and his production dropped. He finished as the team leader in quarterback pressures (32) and was second on the team in sacks (6), with only three coming in the last nine games. Hardy also drew the ire of coach Jason Garrett due to inappropriate tweets, frequent tardiness as well as being a bad influence to the younger players on the team which resulted in the Cowboys not re-signing him after the season.
Spring League and indoor football
Domestic violence charges and suspension
On May 13, 2014, Hardy was arrested for assault and communicating threats, after he was alleged to have assaulted an ex-girlfriend by grabbing her, throwing her into furniture, strangling her, and threatening to kill her. On July 15, a judge found him guilty of assault and communicating threats, and sentenced him to 18 months probation, suspending a 60-day jail sentence. When Hardy appealed the decision, requesting a jury trial, the victim failed to appear in court to testify. As a result, the prosecutor's office dropped the charges, citing their inability to locate the victim, and "reliable information" that the two parties had reached a civil settlement.
Hardy's arrest and trial was the focus of considerable controversy, as news media drew comparisons to other NFL-related domestic violence cases, including those against other NFL players. Panthers coach Ron Rivera initially told news media that he was comfortable having Hardy play, but on September 14, 2014, Hardy was deactivated. On September 17, 2014, he was placed on the exempt list by the league, which meant that he could continue to draw his salary but was prohibited in taking part in any team activities. He would never play another game for the Panthers.
On April 22, 2015, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Hardy for 10 games, after the league's two-month long investigation found that there was "sufficient credible evidence" that Hardy had engaged in conduct which "violated NFL policies in multiple respects and with aggravating circumstances." The league's investigation had concluded that Hardy used physical force in at least four instances, including placing his hands around the victim's neck with enough pressure to leave visible marks, and that his actions were "a significant act of violence in violation of the Personal Conduct Policy."
On July 10, 2015, an arbiter reduced Hardy's suspension from ten games to four games.
On September 26, 2016, Hardy was arrested for cocaine possession in Dallas, Texas.
Mixed martial arts career
|Other names||Prince of War|
|Height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Weight||265 lb (120 kg)|
|Reach||80 in (203 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Coconut Creek, Florida, United States|
|Team||American Top Team|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Hardy made his amateur MMA debut on November 4, 2017, in which he defeated Joe Hawkins by knockout in a 32-second match. Hardy's amateur MMA record improved to 2-0 on December 1, 2017 with another first-round TKO victory, this time over debuting amateur Kenneth Woods. On February 16, 2018, Hardy was victorious in his third amateur bout, defeating Ryan Chester via knockout 14 seconds into the first round.
In April 2018, it was announced that Hardy would make his professional debut at Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series on June 12,. He fought fellow former NFL defensive end Austen Lane and won by a knockout in the first round. Afterwards, he was awarded a contract by the UFC.
For his second professional fight, Hardy faced Tebaris Gordon on the August 7, 2018, edition of Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series. He won by TKO in the fight's opening minute. Following the win over Gordon, Hardy said he was committed to his MMA career and would only consider a return to the NFL if it was with the Dallas Cowboys or the Carolina Panthers.
For the third fight of his professional career, Hardy faced Rasheem Jones at Xtreme Fight Night 352 on September 29, 2018. He won by knockout at 53 seconds in the first round.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
After obtaining an undefeated professional record of 3-0, with all 3 wins coming by way of knockout inside one minute, Hardy made his Ultimate Fighting Championship promotional debut against Allen Crowder on January 19, 2019 at UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw. Hardy lost the fight via disqualification. Hardy hit Crowder with his knee while Crowder was down on the ground, leaving Crowder unable to continue.
Hardy was scheduled to face Jarjis Danho on October 26, 2019 at UFC on ESPN+ 20. However, Danho was pulled from the event for undisclosed reasons. In turn, Hardy was rescheduled and faced promotional newcomer Ben Sosoli a week earlier at UFC on ESPN 6. He originally won the fight via unanimous decision, however, Hardy's non-permitted use of an inhaler in between the second and third round caused the Massachusetts State Athletic Comission to overrule the original decision to a no contest.
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|7 matches||5 wins||1 loss|
|NC||5–1 (1)||Ben Sosoli||NC (overturned)||UFC on ESPN: Reyes vs. Weidman||October 18, 2019||3||5:00||Boston, Massachusetts, United States||Originally an unanimous decision win for Hardy; overturned after he used an inhaler between rounds 2 and 3.|
|Win||5–1||Juan Adams||TKO (punches)||UFC on ESPN: dos Anjos vs. Edwards||July 20, 2019||1||0:45||San Antonio, Texas, United States|
|Win||4–1||Dmitry Smolyakov||TKO (punches)||UFC Fight Night: Jacaré vs. Hermansson||April 27, 2019||1||2:15||Sunrise, Florida, United States|
|Loss||3–1||Allen Crowder||DQ (illegal knee)||UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw||January 19, 2019||2||2:28||Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||3–0||Rasheem Jones||KO (punches)||Xtreme Fight Night 352||September 29, 2018||1||0:53||Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States|
|Win||2–0||Tebaris Gordon||TKO (punches)||Dana White's Contender Series 16||August 7, 2018||1||0:17||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||1–0||Austen Lane||KO (punches)||Dana White's Contender Series 9||June 12, 2018||1||0:57||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Amateur record breakdown|
|3 matches||3 wins||0 losses|
|Win||3–0||Ryan Chester||KO (punches)||Legacy Fighting Alliance 33||February 16, 2018||1||0:14||Dallas, Texas, United States|
|Win||2–0||Kenneth Woods||TKO (strikes)||Rite of Passage 2||December 1, 2017||1||1:36||Bossier City, Louisiana, United States|
|Win||1–0||Joe Hawkins||TKO (punches)||Rise of a Warrior 21||November 4, 2017||1||0:32||Fort Pierce, Florida, United States|
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