It was delayed, but Heather Hardy will finally make her way into a MMA cage.
Hardy was set to be on the InvictaFC card this past spring, but opponents dropped out and delayed her from making her MMA debut. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Hardy got an opportunity to make her debut in her hometown of New York City in the place known as the Mecca for fighting, Madison Square Garden for Bellator 180, which will air on Spike TV Saturday June 24th.
“To fight under the same lights as Muhammad Ali did and under the same lights Billy Joel plays – as a New Yorker, I can’t think of a better opportunity than this,” Hardy told us Wednesday.
The transition is something new and challenging to Hardy, who is a multiple tome world champion in the sweet science. Currently doing her MMA and jiu-jitsu training under the legendary Renzo Gracie and moreover this camp fellow Bellator fighter Daniel Gracie, she has been working a ground game for the past year to round out her MMA game.
This has put more a little more work on Hardy’s plate. She still maintains her complete boxing training schedule on top of her MMA training, which means more time and some borough hopping. After her first MMA training camp, she had learned how to manage her time.
Overall, her transition has been relatively smooth.
“I am fortunate I am a veteran in fight sports that I know fighting and understand fighting. The mechanics and science when you punch, when you step, when you move. After a while, things started to click in and started to apply my knowledge of boxing to MMA.”
“(I think any coach) don’t try to change you, rather see what you are good that and see how we can use that to our advantage.
Like fellow boxing world champion turned MMA fighter Holly Holm, Hardy had started in and continued to train kickboxing throughout her boxing career; coached my multiple time world champion Devon Cormack. She also teaches kickboxing to the next generation of fighters. She doesn’t rule out possibly taking kickboxing bouts in the future, as Bellator has is own kickboxing promotion. She is currently free to fight where ever and whatever style she chooses. She want to stay active, she told us, but will focus on this fight first before thinking about her next move.
Hardy’s MMA debut will be a tough test in Alice Yauger (4-5), who lost a decision this past January in her Bellator debut. The bout will gains Hardy much needed exposure, as it will be televised on a major cable network in Spike TV.
As much as she is exposing boxing fans to MMA in her Bellator debut, Hardy hopes to get MMA fans interested boxing and close the divide.
“Boxing should be like watching two people dance. When you see two boxers that know what they are doing, it can be beautiful,” Hardy expressed. “The same argument can be made for jiu-jitsu and MMA. It may seem brutal but there are technical things happening when two people are on the ground that the untrained eye doesn’t see. They just have to learn to appreciate it.”
Heather Hardy will face Alice Yauger to kick off the preliminary televised card on Spike TV Saturday June 24th.
You can listen to our complete interview with Hardy below.