Former NFL defensive lineman Greg Hardy wins MMA debut with 32-second knockout

Greg Hardy hasn’t been on an NFL roster since the 2015-16 season. (AP)

Former NFL defensive lineman Greg Hardy had a successful MMA debut Saturday, scoring a knockout of Joe Hawkins in just 32 seconds at the Rise of a Warrior 21 event in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Hardy made short work of his opponent with a right hand that sent Hawkins sprawling to the canvas. Hardy followed him with strikes until the referee stopped the fight.

The former Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers defensive end transitioned to mixed martial arts after seeing his NFL career come to an end after a 2014 domestic violence incident led to a lengthy suspension. With no NFL team willing to take him on, Hardy decided to make the move to MMA and announced in October 2016 that he would start training at South Florida’s American Top Team. Just over a year later, Hardy notched his first win in emphatic fashion against Hawkins, who was also making his MMA debut.

Hardy’s knockout came in front of roughly 500 people at the converted basketball gym at the Havert L. Fenn Events Center in Florida. Although he was the most recognizable name, Hardy wasn’t the main event.

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