Meet Austen Lane, Your New Favorite MMA Fighter (At Least For His Bout With Greg Hardy)

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

If you’re aware of Austen Lane, it’s probably for his 30-game career as an NFL defensive end. Or perhaps it’s for being 4-0 in the early stages of his MMA career.

But after June 12, he’ll hopefully be known as the guy who beat the s— out of Greg Hardy.

Lane is scheduled to fight his fellow former defensive end on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, which will be Hardy’s professional MMA debut.

In July 2014, Hardy was found guilty of assaulting and threatening his ex-girlfriend, alleged to have thrown her onto a couch covered in guns and strangled her. The charges were dropped when he appealed and his ex didn’t show up to the hearing. The prosecutor cited “reliable information” that the sides had come to a settlement.

So, yeah, not a great guy! Not that the Cowboys cared.

But since his lone season in Dallas in 2015, Hardy hasn’t been given another chance in the NFL.

Instead, he’s resorted to beating the crap out of schlubs.

But Lane is not that.

In fact, you should probably be rooting for him in fights not against domestic abusers.

He loves MMA so much, that during his NFL days, he still competed in jiu-jitsu tournaments to prepare for his ensuing career. And he did it without taking in any money, as he wasn’t allowed to accept winnings.

“It was probably frowned upon because of risk of injury,” Lane told SB Nation in August 2017. “When I won them I couldn’t accept the cash prizes. I’d just sneak out the back door and say ‘Hey, sorry I can’t accept anything like that.’ So when I was with my last team in Chicago, I kind of knew what I was going to do next and that was MMA for sure.”

He’s pretty funny too.

In Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, fighters vie for UFC contracts, though victory doesn’t guarantee one.

Let’s hope Austen ensures that Hardy doesn’t get a deal. Decisively.