Greg Hardy wins the opening fight of Saturday’s UFC 249 pay-per-view card over Yorgan De Castro by unanimous decision. He got an assist from ringside announcer Daniel Cormier in the process.
Cormier, the former two-division UFC champion, was cageside for analysis on Saturday as the fights took place with social distancing protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic. That means no fans were in the stands at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
With no crowd noise to fill the arena, the announcers’ voices carried into the cage. And Hardy said he took a tip he heard from Cormier to heart in the middle of the heavyweight matchup.
“Thank God for not having the crowd,” Hardy told Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview. “Shout out to DC. I heard him tell me to check him, so I started trying to check him. Game changer.”
Hardy improved to 6-2 in his UFC career.
Hardy, who played for the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys, hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2015 season.
The former Pro Bowl defensive end wasn’t picked up by any NFL team after his domestic violence conviction that was later overturned when the alleged victim declined to cooperate with prosecution on appeal.
Hardy wasn’t the first fighter to thank Cormier on Saturday.
Carla Esparza won a split decision over Michelle Waterson in the undercard. She told reporters after her win that she too heard Cormier criticism and changed up her strategy in the middle of the fight because of it.