While every professional athlete is talented, a select few are able to make it big in multiple sports. Michael Jordan, for example, infamously spent a season playing professional baseball; Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson were stars both on the diamond and the gridiron. More recently, however, Greg Hardy made the transition from the NFL to the UFC.
While Hardy is still a professional athlete, his earning power is quite a bit different in the octagon. In his young fighting career, he’s only made a fraction of what he did during his time in the NFL.
Greg Hardy’s NFL career
After a promising high school career, Greg Hardy headed to the University of Mississippi on a football scholarship. While he showed plenty of potential with the Bulldogs, his time in college was blighted by injury; he recorded 113 total tackles during his freshman and sophomore campaigns, but only posted 34 more during his final two seasons on campus.
Based on that drop-off, Hardy slipped into the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft. The Carolina Panthers decided to take a chance on the defensive end; after a slow rookie season, he repaid their faith.
During his second NFL season, Hardy became a starter and piled up 50 tackles. While that number represented a marked improvement, the defensive end would take things even further; he recorded 60 tackles and 11 sacks in 2012 and followed that up with 15 sacks and 59 more tackles in 2013. His road to stardom, however, would stop there.
In 2014, Hardy was arrested after allegedly attacking his girlfriend in his apartment. He was eventually found guilty of assaulting a female and communicating threats.; those charges have since been expunged from his record. An NFL suspension stemming from that case cost Hardy most of his 2014 season. He would spend the next campaign with the Dallas Cowboys before calling it a career.
Moving into mixed martial arts
With his NFL career over, Greg Hardy decided to try his hand at mixed martial arts. While he didn’t have any professional experience, he found some success in the octagon.
Hardy won his first amateur bout in a matter of seconds; he would rack up two more victories before turning pro. In the professional ranks, he won three more fights before dropping his first result; he was disqualified Allen Crowder for the use of an illegal knee.
After that result, however, Hardy seemed to get back on track. He won his next two fights; it looked like he won a third, but the bout was ruled a no-contest after he used an inhaler in between rounds. Hardy dropped a fight to Alexander Volkov before rebounding on Saturday night and claiming victory over Yorgan De Castro.
Greg Hardy’s NFL salary still dwarfs his UFC earnings
By moving to the UFC, Greg Hardy has been able to keep earning money as a professional athlete. His salary, however, is a bit different than it was during his NFL days.
During his six seasons on the gridiron, Hardy took home just under $19 million. Most of that came in the 2014 season; a franchise tag ensured he earned $13 million despite spending most of the year on the commissioner’s exempt list.
Prior to Saturday night’s fight, Hardy’s UFC earnings were estimated at just under $600,000; his most recent purse hasn’t been revealed, but it’s believed to have added at least $100,000 to his bottom line.
Greg Hardy’s UFC salary might not hold a candle to his NFL earnings, but he’s still in no place to complain. Earning thousands of dollars rather than millions might feel like a step backward, but it’s not bad for a few minutes of work.