Sunday, February 28, 2021

Heather Hardy’s Combat Sports Crossroads

Heather Hardy (2-1 MMA) knows MMA loves her and she can make more money and get the exposure she deserves with Bellator, but her competitive spirit and the right fight for the right money could keep her boxing a little longer. Hardy told The 42 a match with boxing’s Katie Taylor would mean she would have to stop her MMA training and return her focus to boxing full time to face the Irish pro-boxer.

However, Hardy is a realist and knows that while the sport of boxing is where she became well-known in combat sports her experiences crossing over to MMA have proven to be both financially beneficial and personally rewarding. After her first MMA bout in Madison Square Garden last June at Bellator 180, when asked how she felt about her first fight, Hardy said, “I think I’m in love.” She seems to use the relationship analogy for both sports when she recently compared the two sports to different kinds of boyfriends. She said, “Boxing is like that bad boyfriend: abuses you, cheats on you, but you stay with him because you love him so much. And MMA is just that guy with the good job, the nice house, and he wants to pay your daughter’s tuition!”

Hardy is not the first or only woman from boxing to crossover to MMA and finds it more fulfilling. Recently fellow Brooklyn resident Amanda Serrano made her debut in Combate Americas and also shared the same sentiment about women not getting a fair shake in boxing. Serrano was the co-main event in her debut MMA fight that was broadcast on Univision and fought to draw.

At 36-years old, Hardy knows the clock is ticking as it does for all combat sports athletes and wants to be sure to make sure she leaves no doubt to her achievements in boxing and her 21-0 record. While Hardy says she is being taken care of “too well over in MMA”, her drive to compete seems to keep her wanting to do both.  If the match with Taylor does happen in boxing it could bring her back to the sport that brought her to MMA. But even if it does, fans have already learned that Hardy likes to fight, and would likely be itching for a return to the cage anyway.

She’s just that type of fighter.

Do you think Hardy’s next fight will be in the ring or the cage?