HomeSportsUFCFormer NFL defender Austen Lane set to make UFC debut

Former NFL defender Austen Lane set to make UFC debut

by Nick Kosko
(Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Former NFL defensive end Austen Lane is set to make his UFC debut in Jacksonville on June 24, according to MMA Junkie’s Nolan King.

“Austen Lane (12-3) vs. Justin Tafa (6-3) has been added to #UFCJacksonville, per promotion. June 24,” King wrote on Twitter. “This is pretty cool. For those who don’t know, Austen Lane was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010 (153rd overall) and played 28 games for the team across three seasons.”

Lane is the latest former NFL player to try his hand at MMA. Controversial player Greg Hardy had a stint in the UFC following a quick pivot to mixed martial arts.

Former Alabama defender and national champion Eryk Anders is a UFC veteran at this point. Lane joins the crop of former football players in the cage.

Heck, former Tennessee player Ovince Saint Preux is a long standing UFC vet and former title challenger.

Lane is 12-3 in his MMA career and most recently fought on Dana White’s Contender Series in September. He defeated Richard Jacobi via TKO in the first round. It earned him a contract.

Lane is on a six-fight winning streak since his last loss March 6, 2020. 

The former Jaguar fought in numerous regional promotions before getting a crack on the Contender Series.

Lane was a fifth round draft pick out of Murray State by the Jaguars in the 2010 NFL Draft. He played for the team for three years.

He had stints with the Kansas City Chiefs (2013), Detroit Lions (2013) and Chicago Bears (2014).

Austen Lane set to make UFC debut

A former First-Team All-American at Murray State, Lane transitioned to MMA in November of 2015 as an amateur.

Speaking of Hardy, Lane actually fought him in 2018. It was his first appearance on the Contender Series and he lost the fight via TKO in 57 seconds of the first round.

It was the first career loss for Lane.

Hardy lost three in a row via knockout to end his UFC career back on March 5, 2022. He last fought in February in Bare Knuckle FC, losing via knockout in the second round.

As far as Lane’s next fight versus Tafa, the latter is a UFC veteran. He has six fights in the promotion since October 2019.

Tafa won his last two fights via knockout and looks for a third straight.

The bout is set to take place at UFC on ABC: Emmett vs. Topuria June 24 in Jacksonville (Fla.).