Din Thomas Believes Greg Hardy Is A Future UFC Champion
There’s been a lot of talk about Greg Hard’s UFC debut this weekend at UFC Brooklyn. And most of the talk hasn’t been fight related. Thinking about Hardy, purely from an MMA point of view, how far can the former NFL player go in the UFC?
One man has a lot of belief in Hardy, is his coach Din Thomas. As he told BJPenn.com.
“The only Greg Hardy I know is the one that I met two years ago. That’s been a guy with hard work, dedication, and wanting to be the best fighter he can be. I’m in a position to give him that and that’s all it’s been since I met, since the first day he walked into my office and said he wanted to do this, he told me it wasn’t a gimmick for him. That’s all I really know about Greg, I only know that side of him. It’s been great, I can’t really complain about Greg. I’m good friends with his management team and we all see the same thing, we see a guy who just trains really hard, he’s really dedicated and passionate. He wants to improve on fighting every single day, and I’m in a position to offer that to him and I give it to him.
“The man has lived in the dorms for two years, and I’ve been in there, it’s not easy. It’s great for a camp if you want to be in there for two or three weeks, maybe even a month, but Greg has been in the dorms for two years. I mean, he goes home to his family every couple of months or weeks, but for the most of it, he’s in the dorm living, just grinding it out. He’s never asked for anything, he’s never asked for a pad session, the only thing he’s ever asked me for is how to do something better. Listen, I deal with all kinds of fighters, even some amateurs that I’ve taken a liking to have asked me for more than Greg has, and he played in the NFL. So humility, Greg Hardy has it.
“He’s grown a lot, I mean he’s always had power and he’s strong, but he’s grown a lot. He’s worked on his mechanics, his punching mechanics, because that’s what really leads to knocking people out. Greg has spent a lot of time focusing on that and how to win fights, and how to be a fighter. It’s not just about throwing punches and kicks, and choking people out. You have to know how to be a fighter and these are things you have to be taught, and he’s learning that, he’s open-minded, he embraces everything he learns. What I like about him is that as he’s learning things, he’s coming up with his own way of doing things but he doesn’t do it blindly. If he says something good, I’ll say it’s great, but if he comes up with something whack, I’ll tell him let’s not do that.
“I’ll say this, I’m all into the martial arts because the martial arts will expose the truth in you. At the end of the day, martial arts is all about honor and respect, and it’s telling the truth. When you’re out there inside that Octagon, the truth will be told. When I’m working with Greg Hardy, that’s what we see, to find the truth. Can you beat this man in front of you? That’s the reality of it and that’s the truth, can you beat this man with the same body parts? The fact that Greg Hardy has taken to that and put himself out there, saying this is what he wants to do and be vulnerable to putting the truth out there. That’s why I work with Greg, he’s risked getting knocked out in front of millions of people, he’s going to risk that just to do this. He works hard so that it doesn’t happen and that’s what I like about him, and that’s why I’m going to work him and help him reach his dream which is to be the best fighter on the planet.
“If you give him enough time, I know he can become UFC champion, but the timing has to be right. There’s a lot more to it. There’s so many moving parts with success in MMA. A lot of it is timing, being in the right place at the right time, winning some key fights, and just having some key moments in those fights, it all has to come together for you.
“That’s going to be difficult for Greg cause those things have to align properly and the fact that he is so green in this sport, I know they’re going to try and push it faster which is going to force him to have to learn at an incredibly fast rate. There may be some things he can’t learn fast enough, that’s the reality of it. If you give him enough time, he can be UFC champion but if you push him too early, he could struggle. I know the UFC doesn’t have time to wait for Greg to get better. They have a business to run, so we have to do the best we can to make him as prepared as we can have him for the speed they want to push him.”
Referring to the criticism of putting Hardy on the same card as Rachael Ostovich, the American Top Team coach, is quick to defend his man.
“What people don’t realize is that, Greg didn’t ask to be on this card. In fact, he was slated to be on another card outside the UFC in December but they pulled him from that card and put him on this one. Now his dream has been to fight in the UFC, what do you expect him to say? They asked him to do this, he said yeah, and that’s the reality of this. He’s just a fighter who wants to fight. He’s got an opponent this weekend that is going to try and take his head off, the kid just wants to fight. He didn’t ask to be on this card, he didn’t ask to be in the co-main event, he’s just showing up and doing his job, doing what they’re paying him to do, and you can’t fault him for that. The nay-sayers can say what they want, but you can’t fault him for that.”
Hardy faces Allen Crowder in a heavyweight contest, in the UFC Brooklyn co-main event.