By: Patrick Courtois
Here she comes, straight outta Brooklyn with New York swagger and fight.
Heather” The heat” Hardy (20-0 Boxing), (2-1 MMA) is one of a growing list of boxers turned mixed martial artists. The most well-known of these amazing athletes is of course Holly Holm (38-2-3 Boxing), (8-1-2 Kickboxing), (11-4 MMA) whom during UFC 193 on November 15, 2015 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne Australia, did the unthinkable by knocking out Ronda Rousey (12-2 MMA) in round two of a bout most pundits and fans alike predicted would be another “entrée” for Rousey. It was the kick heard around the world. Holm wrapped her foot around Rousey’s neck so tightly and with such force, speed, timing and precision that had the ref addressed Rousey as Minnie Mouse when she woke from her Holm imposed coma, Rousey would have answered the ref with conviction, as Minnie Mouse. Holm took the Bantamweight crown.
What Holly Holm did is unprecedented really. She ushered in a legitimate crossover era in which boxers and mixed martial artists now jump into each other’s respective sports. This doesn’t mean that the crossovers hadn’t happened prior to Holm, it had, but previous incarnations were seemingly always cast as gimmicky one-off curiosities. Familiar names like Randy Couture, Ray Mercer, James Toney, and Ricardo Mayorga, all crossed over. With the development and growth of MMA, it has now become a more serious endeavor with big money, marketing and bragging rights on the line. The ensuing marketing of these ventures have garnered incredible “bank” and the respective protagonists of these bouts have as a result earned hundreds of millions of dollars for a few hours work at the office. The jumps some of these athletes are now making are permanent.
Ultimately, the progenitors of Holms’ ground breaking crossover foray are fighters like Conor McGregor (two-division mixed martial arts world champion) whom by all accounts, made north of $80 million for his Boxing match against Floyd Mayweather (50-0, eleven-time, five-division boxing world champion). Reports vary slightly but it looks like Mayweather may have banked close to $300 million for his part. The fight took place at T-Mobile arena in Paradise, Nevada on August 26, 2017 at Light-Middleweight (154 lbs. 69.9 kg.).
With the advent of Heather Hardy into MMA, the game is turning up and the contenders continue to jump between the two most dominant Combat Sports.
Beyond mere speculation, it now looks like Mayweather may take the leap into MMA, news of which created quite a buzz on social media. It also looks like UFC Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, will be starting “money Mayweather off on his training.
Heather Hardy began her boxing journey in 2010 in Long Island NY in a tiny venue. She won that fight, and from that point on felt a special affinity and passion for boxing. The road was tough, but Heather soon developed a reputation as a fierce scrapper with a ferocious tenacity and will to win. Word got around. Soon people were asking, “Who’s this new kid”?
Attractive and blonde, some tried to ostracize her, but it was for naught. Talent is talent, period! And in Heather’s words “they knew me quick, because I started tearin’ ass”.
Hardy’s first MMA bout was to have been at Invicta FC 21 against Brieta “Tank girl” Carpenter (8-2-0 Amateur). The bout was cancelled due to an injury suffered by Carpenter.
Next stop, the big Leagues. BellatorMMA 180, June 24, 20017 at Madison square Garden. This was Hardy’s first professional fight. She came in as a Flyweight (125 lbs.) and butted heads against Alice Yauger (4-6-0). Hardy proceeded to destroy the veteran via TKO’s in round 3.
Things were looking good for Heather. She was sure of her abilities and so was Bellator. They decided to capitalize on this brash exciting New Yorker. They booked her at 125 lbs. again. BellatorMMA 185 was the forum, against a tough puncher in Kristina Williams (2-0). It was Williams who started the bought aggressively. As an intro she offered Hardy a round house kick to the chest followed by a flurry of punches. Surprisingly Hardy was being rocked. Williams dictated the fight, always moving forward and countering any and every strike from the veteran boxer. Williams sported a 3 inch height and 2 inch reach advantage which she used expertly to keep Hardy at bay.
The Tae Kwondo Black belt used her long legged kicks liberally to deny Hardy an in. Front kicks, side kicks, round houses, kicks targeting the forearms, thighs, all with blistering power. For all her boxing prowess Hardy seemed a bit tentative at first, but soon picked up the pace and started trading. At the conclusion of round one Hardy’s nose was a bloodied mess, but the heart and competitive fire this fighter embodied, was nothing short of extraordinary.
Round two, Hardy came in with a vengeance, but it just seemed that the more experienced Williams had the edge in so many departments. Two minutes into round two, Williams unloaded a huge left kick that shattered Hardy’s nose. So it came to pass, a doctor stoppage handed the win to Williams. A tremendous fight and much credit to Hardy for incredible heart and fire. Let’s remember that Hardy has yet to cut her teeth in this sport. She’s still green and growing with insane speed.
Heather Hardy followed the loss against Williams with a unanimous victory against Ana “the hurricane” Julaton (2-4, MMA), (14-4-1, Boxing).
Ironically, like Hardy, Julaton who hails from the Philippines, comes from a pro boxing background. They met at BellatorMMA 194 on February 16, 2018. Perhaps this was vindication for Hardy. Back in form, studied and ready. The promise that is Hardy is on the rise, watch her go.
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