Fresh off a controversial no-contest in his bout at UFC Fight Night last week, heavyweight Greg Hardy is getting right back to work.
Hardy (5-1) has agreed to step in against Alexander Volkov (30-7) on Nov. 9 in Moscow, according to UFC president Dana White. Volkov was scheduled to face Junior dos Santos, but dos Santos was forced to withdraw this week due to a bacterial infection in his leg.
Representatives for Hardy confirmed the heavyweight bout will serve as the co-main event at UFC Fight Night in Moscow, and added the fight was made at Hardy's request.
"This was Greg's idea," Malki Kawa of First Round Management told ESPN. "He trains with Junior dos Santos at American Top Team and saw that he was sick. He called me up and asked what I thought about him fighting Volkov. I actually didn't like the fight for him, I thought maybe it was too soon, but Greg wants to step up in competition.
"He thinks he can go to Moscow and knock him out, and he wanted to help the promotion, which is exactly what he did."
Volkov, who is from Russia, will represent a major step up for Hardy. Volkov has previously held titles in Bellator MMA and M-1 Global, and holds a UFC record of 4-1.
A featherweight bout between Zabit Magomedsharipov (17-1) and Calvin Kattar (20-3), which was originally slated as the co-main event on Nov. 9, will now serve as the main event. Due to the short notice, however, the bout will remain scheduled for three rounds instead of five, per White.
Hardy is coming off a no-contest on Oct. 18 in Boston. Hardy was initially declared the winner of a three-round decision against Ben Sosoli, but the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission changed the result to a no-contest due to Hardy's use of an inhaler between the second and third rounds.
Hardy has since stated he has exercise-induced asthma, and that the inhaler was approved by the UFC's anti-doping partner United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and that an MSAC inspector gave him permission to use it when he asked. He is considering appealing MSAC's decision to change the result of the fight.
"Our intention right now is to appeal the no-contest," Kawa said. "The matter is in the hands of our legal team, so I have no further comment at this time."
Hardy is officially 2-1 in the UFC with one no-contest. His only professional loss came via disqualification against Allen Crowder in January, due to an illegal knee. His emergence as an MMA prospect and UFC fighter has been well documented this year, as he has stepped back into the spotlight after being exiled from the NFL. Hardy was convicted of domestic violence in 2014, before charges were expunged from his record.