Greg Hardy believes the "no crowd" rule at UFC 249 helped him win his match. The former NFL defensive lineman was taking on Yorgan De Castro in a heavyweight fight on Saturday night and ended up winning by unanimous decision. In particular, the factor that helped Hardy beat Castro was UFC star Daniel Cormier, who was announcing the match with Joe Rogan. Hardy started listening to what Cormier had to say about him, and he changed his strategy. This change would have been impossible if the roar of the crowd was overtaking announcers 'voices.
"Thank God for not having the crowd, "Hardy said per TMZ. "Shout out to D.C. (analyst Daniel Cormier). "I heard him tell me to check him, that I needed to figure out how to check it, so I started trying to check him. Game changer!" Hardy is now 6-2 in his MMA career, and that win was significant because it was his first on a pay-per-view card. Hardy's previous match was against Alexander Volkow in November and lost via unanimous decision. After the match on Saturday, Hardy talked about much fun he had despite no fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I knew we could do this," he said in the post-UFC 249 press conference per Fox News. "I knew we could figure it out. Even with all the hurdles that we had early on, this has been fun. It's been challenging, and it's been fun. "I know that sounds a little demented to say I've had fun going through this. It's been challenging, and I've enjoyed the whole game of it if you will."
Before Hardy joined UFC, he spent six seasons in the NFL. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round had a breakout season in 2013, recording 39 tackles and 15 sacks. However, Hardy was dealing with legal issues, including being arrested for assault in 2014. The Dallas Cowboys signed him in 2015 after the Panthers cut him. He played in 12 games that year and tallied 23 tackles and six sacks.
"As human beings, we're all going to make mistakes," UFC president Dana White said to Sports Illustrated in 2018 when talking about signing Hardy. "It's how you bounce back from that. I personally think he's a changed guy. He's learned from his mistake, and he's trying to make a change in his life. I'm sure he's hit rock bottom, and he had to pick himself up, and his life is where he wants it to be. People around him respect him and like him and feel he's a good teammate. So we're gonna give him this shot."