Greg Hardy will be stepping into the octagon on just 18 days’ notice to meet by far his biggest challenge to date when he goes against Alexander Volkov at UFC on ESPN+ 21.
Hardy will head to Moscow to meet Russian contender Volkov on Nov. 9, filling in for teammate Junior Dos Santos, who was forced out after being hospitalized with a bacterial infection in his leg.
In his last fight, which took place last Friday at UFC Boston, Hardy was involved in yet another bit of controversy when his unanimous decision win over Ben Sosoli got overturned to a no contest because of the illegal use of an inhaler in between rounds.
But it’s clear that, not even a week later, Hardy has already moved on and will attempt to capitalize on a massive opportunity, when he takes on former Bellator champion Volkov in enemy territory.
“I’m excited, man. It was a lot of things that played into this decision, and the big one was just the opportunity,” Hardy told TMZ on Tuesday. “This is a big-time fight. This is a high-level competition. This is what any ‘Prince of War’ or future king of war could ever hope for.”
When Hardy (5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) steps into the cage Nov. 9, it will be for his fifth fight of 2019, which will set the record for most fights by a heavyweight in a calendar year. And he’s well aware of the criticism he’s received so far for his level of opponents and is out to prove his worth against a challenge like Volkov (30-7 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who’s lost only once in the UFC and boasts 20 career knockouts.
“After this Ben Sosoli guy, he’s supposed to be the huge, tough guy, and he was, and everybody’s like ‘Oh he’s a can, give him some competition,’” Hardy said. “It’s time. It’s time to make a statement. It’s time to step up and put my mettle to the test as the ‘Prince of War.’ Stop talking, put the hands up, and fight with an actual monster, fight with a top-ranked, elite assassin.”
It’s been a year since Volkov last stepped into the cage, when he suffered a dramatic third-round knockout loss to Derrick Lewis at UFC 229, a fight he was clearly winning before being finished.
The way Hardy sees it, if Lewis, whom he discredits for his punching power, was able to knock out Volkov then he likes his own chances.
“The last one, soft Derrick Lewis knocked his (expletive) out,” Hardy said. “If pillow hands Lewis can do it, for sure I feel like I can go in there and compete and knock this guy out. He’s a monster, too.”
- Greg Hardy set to fight Alexander Volkov in UFC on ESPN+ 21 co-headliner on 18 days' notice
- Edmen Shahbazyan plans to be 'the best version of me yet' vs. Brad Tavares
- Jon Jones asks Tony Ferguson if he's 'feeling suicidal' in response to callout, apologizes for tweet
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Greg Hardy ready to make a statement vs. 'actual monster' Alexander Volkov on short notice