For controversial, and still developing, heavyweight Greg Hardy, every minute of cage time counts. At UFC 249, he got 15 full minutes against Yorgan De Castro, in a fight that resulted in Hardy picking up the third win of this UFC tenure.
The unanimous decision (30-27 on all three cards) had Hardy displaying some effective leg kicks, and decent movement. His opponent, meanwhile, seemed a bit gun-shy throughout, stuck in first gear as it were.
That cage time, Hardy (6-2, 1NC) told Cageside Press in a virtual post-fight press scrum, was crucial for him.
“I hope people see every single fight that there’s something new. There’s a different element of my fight that advances every single fight,” he said. “We work on something new every single camp and we advance every single camp, and when I get that ring time, that’s my practice. Those are my championship rounds. That’s the time that I get to develop into a well rounded fighter in front of the world.”
“So every second I get in the ring is valuable,” he added. “In the octagon, excuse me.”
Hardy’s PPV main card opener may not have blown the roof off the arena on Saturday, but he is very much a work in progress. The circumstances of the event were further muddied when Brazilian middleweight Ronaldo Souza — affectionately known as “Jacare” — tested positive for COVID-19. His results were not returned until Friday.
Hardy had been frank leading into the event, saying that as an asthmatic, he was terrified of the coronavirus — but chose to fight regardless. Post-fight on Saturday, he told us what went through his mind upon hearing the news of Jacare’s diagnosis.
“I was shook,” said Hardy. It was mere hours after his own test results arrived that the Jacare news broke. “So I was sitting in suspense. No clue. I was trying to train. I was cutting weight actually, you know, I cut 20, 22 pounds every fight so I’m cutting weight, trying to figure out if I’m about to die or not, freaking out man, and then he finally finds out he has it.”
“It’s just, you know, it’s demoralizing dude. It messes with your head, and then just being worried. I’m all about being a team guy. Being worried for Jacare. We’ve been on, I think one or two cards together. It’s just, it’s a lot,” Hardy finished.
Watch the full UFC 249 virtual press scrum with Greg Hardy above.