Former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy will return to the octagon on April 27 in Florida, per MMA Junkie.
UFC on ESPN 3 poster released: Greg Hardy makes it two straight co-main events https://t.co/PxpkoxCgcS
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) March 28, 2019
Hardy won three MMA fights in under a minute, including one over fellow former NFL defensive end Austen Lane, before making his UFC debut in January. Hardy lost his debut to Allen Crowder by disqualification after landing an illegal knee in the second round.
The disqualification did not appear to hurt Hardy’s standing in the UFC’s eyes, as they saw fit to make his fight with Dmitry Smolyakov the co-main event of UFC on ESPN 3. Smolyakov is 9-2 in MMA but lost both of his UFC fights to Luis Henrique and Cyril Asker in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Hardy made the Pro Bowl with the Carolina Panthers in 2013. Various legal issues, including domestic violence charges in 2014, led to the effective end of his NFL career in 2015 after one season with the Dallas Cowboys.
The main event of UFC on ESPN 3 features former UFC Middleweight Championship contender Yoel Romero vs. former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Ronaldo Souza. Romero was last seen losing a split decision to Robert Whittaker at UFC 225 in June, which went on to win Fight of the Year. Souza last fought at UFC 230 in November, when he defeated former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman by third-round KO.
The card also features Glover Teixeira vs. Ion Cuțelaba, Carla Esparza vs. Lívia Renata Souza, Andrei Arlovski vs. Augusto Sakai and John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen.