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Morning Report: Greg Hardy excited about short-notice fight against Alexander Volkov: ‘It’s time to make a statement’

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Greg Hardy Thomas Lakes, MMA Fighting

As the saying goes, life moves pretty fast, and nowhere is that more true than the UFC’s heavyweight division.

On Tuesday, Junior dos Santos announced that he had been hospitalized with an infection and was forced to withdraw from his planned UFC Moscow co-main event against Alexander Volkov. Then, just a few hours later, it was announced that Greg Hardy would be stepping in on short notice. It’s a huge step up in competition for the controversial MMA neophyte but, speaking to TMZ Sports, Hardy said that it’s one he’s excited for and that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to fill in for his American Top Team teammate.

“I’m excited. There were a lot of things that played into this decision and the big one was just the opportunity,” Hardy said. “This is a big time fight, this is high level competition. This is what any Prince of War or future King of War could ever hope for. And second of all, just somebody fell down. My teammate went down so somebody’s got to fill in. The next man up had got to fill in and that’s just always been my mentality, to hold it down for the team.”

Hardy is one of the most polarizing fighters in recent UFC history. The former NFL All-Pro caused a ruckus when the UFC signed him because of the domestic violence allegations that played a role in ousting him from professional football and his tenure in the UFC has been frequently beset by drama. In his UFC debut, Hardy was disqualified for throwing an illegal knee that knocked out opponent Allen Crowder, and then just last weekend, Hardy had his win over Ben Sosoli overturned to a no-contest because he used an inhaler between the second and third rounds (Hardy did ask a ringside official for permission to do so and plans to appeal the No Contest). On top of those two incidents, Hardy has faced a lot of criticism for the quality of his opposition in the UFC so far and part of the appeal for “The Prince of War” is that he can fight against a legitimate top-tier opponent and make a statement that he’s a real fighter.

“Yeah. A big thing for me, if everybody looks back and remembers, I was going with my team,” Hardy said. “I was going with my gym, I was going with everybody’s decision making and these same guys believe in me, and once I got the belief it’s just like, ‘Hey, let’s go.’

“After this Ben Sosoli guy, he’s supposed to be this huge tough guy and he was, but everybody’s like, ‘Oh he’s a can, give him some competition.’ It’s time. It’s time to make a statement, it’s time to step up and put my mettle to the test as the Prince of War. Stop talking, put the hands up, and fight with an actual monster. Fight with a top-ranked, elite assassin.”

Alexander Volkov is certainly that. The former M-1 Global and Bellator heavyweight champion is 4-1 in the UFC and was 11 seconds away from earning a UFC title shot before falling victim to one of the most sensational comebacks in UFC history at the hands of Derrick Lewis. That fight, Hardy says, gives him confidence that he is not jumping into the deep end too soon.

“The UFC always has my back,” Hardy said. “They took a gamble on me, they let me in the door, so they need somebody to fill in, for sure I’m about to go knock the guy out. The last one, soft Derrick Lewis knocked this dude out. If ‘pillow-hands’ Lewis can do it, for sure I feel like I can go in there and compete and knock this guy out.”

Who knows, if Hardy really can pull off the upset, maybe he and Lewis will finally get to settle their beef next.


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Cut. Jose Aldo slimming down for bantamweight debut, responds to Henry Cejudo’s ‘bend the knee’ comments.

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VIDEO STEW

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LISTEN UP

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Mookie & Crookie. Discussing UFC Boston and the Conor McGregor allegations.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Jon.

Well, they’re trying.

Izzy.

Francis can’t catch a break.

Injury.

It would depress me a great deal to watch Cejudo KO a sucked out Aldo.

Out.

Signing up.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Greg Hardy (5-1, 1 NC) vs. Alexander Volkov (30-7); UFC Moscow, Nov. 9.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

So how does this one go?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Volkov
    (1020 votes)
  • 25%
    Hardy with the upset
    (354 votes)
1374 votes total Vote Now

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