It’s an exciting time for Heather Hardy.
The undefeated professional boxing champion will make her second mixed martial arts appearance when she meets Kristina Williams at Bellator 185 on Friday in Connecticut. The bout will come just two weeks before Bellator 186, where Ilima-Lei MacFarlane will fight Emily Ducote to determine the inaugural Bellator women’s flyweight champion.
Heather Hardy not Rushing Title Shot Ahead of Bellator 185: “I’ll Know When I’m Ready”
“I think it’s great,” Hardy told MMASucka regarding a title opening up in her weight class. “The women’s 125-pound division is opening up across all of MMA, which I think was needed. It proved there are too many girls with talent cramming into a couple of different weight classes. It’s nice to see them open up the 125. There’s a bunch of us there, it’s going to be really competitive and exciting. It’s a fun time to be a girl.”
Bellator’s flyweight division contains potential contenders such as Valerie Letourneau, Kate Jackson, Bruna Ellen, Veta Arteaga, Anastasia Yankova, Keri Melendez, Colleen Schneider, and, of course, MacFarlane and Ducote. So how long does Hardy expect it will take for her to be fighting for an MMA title?
“It’s hard to say,” she admitted. “It’s when I know that I’ll feel comfortable to beat the girl who has the belt, and that can be one win, two wins, five wins. I really can’t say for sure. I’ll know when I’m ready.”
Hardy said the accomplishment of becoming a champion in not only boxing, but also MMA, is something she’s very much eyeing.
“I think it’d be great to hold titles in both sports, to be an active champion in both sports,” she said. “I think that’s what all athletes want, right? To be better than everyone else at what you do.”
In order to advance in the increasingly crowded 125-division, however, Hardy will need to get by Williams first. Williams is making her professional debut, but holds a 3-0 amateur record, per multiple sites such as Tapology.com and MixedMartialArts.com.
“I know she’s got jiu-jitsu experience so we were kind of preparing for that,” Hardy said. “And she’s more of a Thai striker so we’ve gotten sparring partners to simulate that style; girls who have been pro for a long time, girls who are bigger than me and stronger than me and giving me so much trouble right now, so it’s easy when I fight.”
The fight, which has a spot on the main card, has the makings of a striker fans’ delight if it stays standing. A boxing vs. Muay Thai showdown could be in store for viewers, but Hardy only sees it ending one way.
“It will end with me being undefeated, because I’ll die in there before [I lose],” she said. “I just know that I’m going to fight, and win.”
“The Heat” stormed onto the MMA scene in June at the Bellator NYC event with a late TKO victory over Alice Yauger. Hardy handily out-pointed Yauger on the feet for the majority of 15 minutes. Then, the boxer unleashed a vicious flurry to TKO her opponent with 13 seconds on the clock.
“Oh, it was great!,” she said, reminiscing of her successful debut. “I was on cloud nine for three days.”
Hardy will hope to experience another three days on cloud nine following Friday night. Williams is the next woman standing in her way.
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