Greg Hardy is making the move to mixed martial arts.
The controversial former Dallas Cowboys defensive end has decided to put his football career on hold to pursue MMA, MMAFighting.com has learned.
Hardy, 28, who does not have an extensive martial arts background, has been training for several months in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and according to his team, several promotions have already expressed interest in signing him.
"I'm very focused and excited to start my MMA career," Hardy said in a statement provided to MMAFighting.com. "I'm going to do this the right way, I can assure you of that."
As a member of the Carolina Panthers, Hardy missed the majority of the 2014 NFL season after being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list due to a domestic violence incident with an ex-girlfriend. He would go on the miss the first four games of the 2015 season to serve a suspension stemming from the case. His original suspension was for 10 games, however, an arbitrator later reduced his punishment.
Hardy played for the Panthers for five seasons before signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys last year. He was unable to land a spot with a new team during the off-season. His best season came in 2013 when he recorded 15 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl team.
Last month, Hardy was arrested on a cocaine possession charge in the Dallas suburb of Richardson.
According to his team, Hardy currently weighs approximately 285 pounds and is expected to debut as a heavyweight when he fights for the first time, most likely in 2017.
"I'm fully committed to being as successful as I can be in this sport," he said.