Former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy has taken up a new career as a pro fighter, but his bare-knuckle boxing debut did not go well.
Hardy suffered a devastating knockout during a bout against Josh Watson in the Knucklemania 3 card on Friday in the second round.
With less than two minutes remaining in the round, the former Dallas Cowboys player failed to land a left-handed swing and in return, Watson hit Hardy with a powerful left hook. Watson hit Hardy again as he was falling to the ground.
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The 34-year-old was still attempting to get up when the referee counted to 10. He ultimately needed assistance to sit up, as he was unable to do so under his own power.
The Carolina Panthers selected Hardy in the sixth round of 2010 draft. He went on to become a Pro Bowler in 2013. The following season, he was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list due to a domestic violence charge.
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His last NFL opportunity came in 2015, when he was signed by the Cowboys.
Since then, Hardy has focused on professional fighting and signed with the UFC in 2018. He had some success early on but was cut by the organization a year ago after he suffered three straight defeats by knockout.
Hardy signed a fight contract with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship in June 2022.
“I’m back and ready to knock everyone out in the baddest promotion there is. Everyone knows I can knock people out, and that’s what I’m planning on doing. I can’t wait to take the gloves off and rumble for BKFC,” Hardy said around the time of his signing last summer.
Watson was participating in his third BKFC event, and had complied a 1-1 record with the promotion. The win over Hardy earned him a second victory.
Meanwhile, Hardy had participated in a pair of bouts late last year and recorded a victory against Hasim Rahman Jr.
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Hardy did enter the bout as the favorite against the 33-year-old Watson.