Josh Watson reacts virally to Greg Hardy’s BKFC knockout: “He wasn’t even thinking of me.”


Josh Watson proved a lot of people wrong — including, in his eyes, people within the BKFC organization — when he brutally knocked out Greg Hardy at Knucklemania 3.

In a main card heavyweight bout, Hardy was a massive favorite heading into his fight with Watson, but things went south for the former UFC fighter and NFL defensive player when he was dropped late in the first round, and eventually finished in the second.

The 40-year-old Watson knew he was flying under the radar heading into the fight, and throughout fight week, he wanted it to stay that way.

” I knew he was forgetting me,” Watson said to MMA Fighting. I knew that he was not looking at me. He didn’t see me and that was the way I wanted it to be. BKFC weigh ins have seen some great things. I wanted to be a part of that fun and maybe make it viral. But, I wasn’t sure. He didn’t think I was trying to get mad at him. I just wanted him to stop thinking about me. He didn’t think I was a thought.

” I kept in touch with him and even gave him a quick kiss before we left. Although we never spoke, we kept in touch and he didn’t think about me. That’s why I was swinging. He’s not expecting anything from me, but I said, “I’m going to surprise him .”

And that’s what Watson did. He stormed out of the gates with big combinations, however it appeared that Hardy soon settled in, using his size and range to jab away at Watson.

Watson says there was more to it than just Hardy having success. Watson wasn’t being outboxed, it was just that Watson was panicking after Hardy’s first punch.

“That time, he seemed to be settled in and poked me in my eye,” Watson said. It’s easy to see in the photo. That very first punch, he poked me. I was basically blind in my right eye for the first minute of the fight. Three of them were in my left eye, so I was panicking. When you’re in that panic, your body is tight, you overexaggerate your movements, and it kind of exhausts you — and that’s what was happening, because I was really scared and I couldn’t see s***. The round went on, as I could see more, I started to relax, and when he threw me to the ground, I was like, ‘I’m just going to take a few moments, try to catch my breath.’ And when I clinched with him, I calmed down and caught him with that one hook.

“It was fight or flight for that first minute and a half because I was panicking. I couldn’t see s***.”

Photos by Phil Lambert

After his knockdown in the first round, Watson had a nasty cut over his eye and blood pouring down his face. In what could’ve been an unfortunate way for the fight to end, Hardy was essentially saved by the bell, and before the second round began, referee Dan Miragliotta and commission doctors appeared to look at the cut.

It looked like the fight could have been stopped, according to the viewers. But Watson was given the green light to continue — or at least, that’s how it looked during the live viewing.

” We still don’t know what broke my head open,” Watson stated. “I drop him, Miragliotta separates us, and this waterfall of blood cascades down my forehead. I was like, ‘S***, this is bad, this might get stopped,’ and right when that happened, my coach yelled 13 seconds, and from there, I’m like, ‘S***, hurry up and get up and let me hit you one more time.’ In my mind, I might not get a second round. Miragliotta was there at the airport that day. He saw my body language and knew I was trying to restart it as quickly as possible. But he took his time.

“There’s been a lot of different views of it. The doctor seemed to want to have a closer look, which I think is why I was unable or unwilling to do so. It wasn’t that way for me. I definitely remember him being on the side of the ring, I, clear as day, remember my coach saying, ‘He’s fine, he can fight,’ and the doctor looking at him. The way they wiped, I got vasoline in my eye. Then I stood up, and I was like “Wait! Now I don’t see s ***..” You can wipe my eye. It was OK. We’re fine. Miragliotta had wanted me to speak to her doctor. I didn’t want to listen to him, but he wanted to see me. I said, “No, we can go.” We’re fighting.’

” That might have been the way it was, but that’s not what I meant to do. I wasn’t trying to ignore the doctor. But yeah, everybody said, ‘You ignored the doctor and said, f*** it, I’m fighting.’ I knew I needed to get him out of there quick because he was going to keep hitting it and it was going to get worse.”

Knowing the leash was short due to the nasty gash on his face, Watson was well aware his time was limited to get Hardy out of there before things got worse. Seconds later, “Stay Down” landed a nasty combination that sent Hardy to the floor, and kept him there.

The patented Watson pose was subsequently adopted, with thunderous applause from Albuquerque’s crowd and fans all over the globe on social media.

” When he fell in round one, I was certain he would pop up again. I also have the “Stay Down” Watson pose. It’s on the back of my knuckles so I had to do that over Watson with my knuckles. Watson said, “I didn’t want to lose my opportunity. Then when he went down the second time, I thought, ‘He’s done, this is happening, f*** it, put the knuckles up. He’s staying down.'”

The long-time Maine native hopes to compete in close quarters before his career is over. If he succeeds, it would be likely his last fight.

While it does not seem that a BKFC visit to New England is imminent, Watson has spoken with David Feldman from BKFC and believes that there will be plenty of opportunities for him to stay busy.

“Everybody loves to see the underdog win, that’s a bonus,” Watson said. “It was a really good response. Even though people doubted me, everyone said, “You got it,” and that made me more confident in my ability to do it. I was actually surprised by how much of a speed bump in the road I was supposed to be organizationally. Everyone thought Greg would beat me and fight Ben Rothwell April 29 in Denver. This was the way, but it’s now completely obstructed.

“After I caught him, there’s a picture if me reaching through the ropes yelling to [Feldman] that I wanted the knockout of the night bonus, which I got, but he was telling me, ‘Don’t even worry about that, I’ve got bigger plans for you.’ He yelled that outside the ring, and said that at the post-fight press conference as well.”