5 Pro Athletes Who Would Kick Greg Hardy’s Ass in an MMA Ring

Human compost pile Greg Hardy has officially put his NFL “comeback” on hold in order to become an MMA fighter. First of all, he has to be the most talented player ever to be completely blackballed from the NFL due to behavioral problems, right? Dude is only 28 years old and completely un-blockable as a traditional 4-3 defensive end, which is only one of the most important positions in all of sports. Anyone who is too much of a distraction for the Dallas Frigging Cowboys brings the phrase disciplinary issues to a whole new level.

So he is on to MMA and claims he will make his debut as a heavyweight in 2017. Seems like a good idea in theory. No teammates, no coaches, just pure physicality and violence. Perfect for Hardy’s sociopathic set of skills. Except that MMA, like any other sport, requires hard work, discipline, and actually conforming to a set of agreed-upon rules. So count me as more than skeptical that he ever advances beyond the “freakish sideshow” phase of his new career (although if a promoter wants to make real money, he should match Hardy up against an experienced heavyweight with devastating punching power and sell it to the public as a bully getting what he deserves).

This whole thing did get me thinking though: Which pro athletes (in their respective primes) would I have most liked to see compete in the UFC?

Here are my Top 5: Let me know your list in the comments below or by hitting us up on Twitter @theleadsports or via email at

1. Ray Lewis

But wait, what about the murder charges, you say. How can I rail against Greg Hardy and then put a possible double-murderer first on the list? Easy. Greg Hardy isn’t out of the NFL just because he is a bad guy; it’s because he’s a lazy, undisciplined boob who alienates coaches and teammates the way Donald Trump alienates educated female voters. Whatever Ray Lewis did off the field, on it he was a coaches dream and the kind of self-starter that thrives in the UFC. He also happens to have a great body for combat sports and was a wrestling champion in the state of Florida during high school.

Plus, as if we really needed a reminder, he appears to have the natural explosiveness required to get his opponents to the ground…

2. Mike Tyson

First of all, this has to be early Tyson, before all the discipline problems started. There was a time as a young fighter when Tyson was in great shape and always stuck to his game plan in the ring. That is the Mike Tyson of lore, and be honest: you would pay to see him in a UFC ring. Could he connect a lightly padded fist to the jaw of an opponent, causing them to literally see stars, before they wrestled him to the ground and tapped him out? Would he resort to biting if he was losing? Does boxing even translate to MMA? This is a no-brainer…

3. Ron Artest

Athleticism? Check. Craziness? Check. Size/reach? Check. The worry here is a lack of formal boxing and/or wrestling background, but the combination of length, athleticism, discipline, natural aggressiveness, and naturally lean muscle mass make him a great candidate. Oh by the way, he also started the biggest brawl in modern NBA history…

By the way, the funniest part about this entire incident is that after it was all over, when Artest and Stephen Jackson were back in the locker room, Artest turned to Jackson and asked in all seriousness, “Do you think we will get suspended?” Not sure what’s crazier: that he went into the stands to attack a fan or that he legitimately thought he might not get suspended for it. God bless the mid-2000’s NBA.

4. Bill Romanowski

Very disciplined, VERY physical, not afraid of PEDs OR cheap shots, and crazier than your average Sandy Hook truther. Additionally, Romo is such a competitor that it feels like he would actually take the time to learn the intricacies of the sport instead of just trying to coast by on athleticism. Like he would probably move to Albuquerque and train every day for a year before he even suited up for a single fight. It feels like that level of commitment is necessary to pull this off properly. Plus, it looks like Romo may have some moves. Watch him dislocate Shannon Sharpe’s elbow without even trying…

5. Cael Sanderson

No-brainer. He should probably be higher on this list. This is the opposite of Mike Tyson: a world-class grappler who has never boxed. As a college wrestler at Iowa State, Sanderson went 159-0 (with four national titles) before going on to win the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He is now the wrestling coach at Penn State and still in good shape, and although he has never dipped his toe into the MMA waters, this video of him working out with Wanderlei Silva in 2014 gives the distinct impression that it wouldn’t be too difficult of a transition…


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