Las Vegas, NV — It’s been seven months since Greg Hardy last competed inside the octagon.
That will change come UFC 264, when Hardy (7-3, 1NC) takes on Tai Tuivasa. But the absence of Hardy has been noticeable in 2021, especially to his detractors — of which there are many — following a TKO loss to Marcin Tybura last December.
After being finished for the first time in his career, many labeled Hardy a quitter. He responded to those critics during the UFC 264 media day on Wednesday.
“I have been hearing that some people think that I’m a quitter. That is crazy. You guys have seen me in a full crucifix, my first fight. Did I quit then?” he questioned.
Then there was his fight against Alexander Volkov. “Twenty-two days notice, I go to Russia, I fight that guy for three rounds. Did I quit then? I’m talking busted face. And over and over and over again, Yorgan De Castro, I got kicked so many times I could barely walk. Did I quit then? And so on and so forth.”
“I think I’ve got to just keep in mind, the lessons are going to keep coming,” continued Hardy. “And that’s exactly what it was. I got on the ground, I stuffed a bunch of takedowns after whupping his behind. He did not want to stand up anymore. His game plan was, take a bunch of punches — which is a wonderful game plan — and then take me down when I got tired, which I did. And I had to figure it out from there, and I couldn’t figure it out fast enough. So I took some time, and I got back in the lab, like a young man’s supposed to.”
Now, Hardy plans to get back to entertaining. Though he won’t be surprised if Tuivasa, normally a brawler, opts to shoot for a takedown. “At the end of the day, what guy haven’t you seen come in there and try to take me down? Everybody talks like he’s going to knock me out. ‘Greg Hardy’s a villain, I’m going to put his face on the pavement and bounce it off of it,’ and blah blah blah. And then they go surfing for shoelaces, just nose-diving.”
Looking to be a true mixed martial artist, “I am approaching this fight ready for whatever, but I took it knowing that I’m here to entertain,” added Hardy. “And we need to get back to that real quick before I go chase this gold.”
Watch the full UFC 264 media day scrum with Greg Hardy above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.