There’s no question about it– Heather Hardy is the real deal. This is not just reflected by her multiple world titles, perfect 20-0 boxing record or her outstanding MMA debut last month, “The Heat” lives and breathes passion and determination in her relentless pursuit to the top. Whether she’s breaking barriers in boxing or turning heads in MMA, Hardy elevates women in the sport and represents everything that fight fans look for in a champion– heart, will, and an unstoppable work ethic.
Bellator’s newest flyweight spoke to WMMA Rankings and answered questions about her MMA and boxing future, her daughter, her mentality and much more. Read below to get to know the two-division boxing champion and Brooklyn-native.
How did you find the transition (from boxing) to MMA? It’s two totally different sports. It took a lot of work, it was learning new things. But at the end of the day, a fight is a fight. I know I got a lot of heart, a lot of drive. I’m really motivated to win and succeed. Those are the most important things going into anything.
What’s next going forward in boxing and MMA? As far as MMA goes, I’m not really interested in fighting for a title, ya know? I need to put my time in, I need cage time. I’m really anxious to get in there again and get some experience and maybe rack up some wins. And as far as boxing goes, I’m really only interested in doing world title fights and championship fights. I’m hoping that with the coverage I’m getting from MMA, the boxing executives will give me a shot on tv where I deserve.
How’s the ground game aspect of MMA coming along– do you enjoy it, do you find it more difficult? I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. Like I don’t love running, but I have to do it, right? So it’s part of the training, and I think that my coaches approached the ground game to figure out how we can use my striking wherever we are– whether we’re on our back, on our side, standing up, on our knees, or against the wall– how can we use our striking to the best of our ability? that’s the approach we’ve been taking to it. Ya know, I’ve had the gi on for a while, I don’t love it but I do it. One thing my boxing coach always told me is that– you do one thing well, you can basically do anything well. That can be from cooking to photography to boxing to kickboxing to MMA. You take the concepts you learned in one sport and take it to another, and I’ve kind of been doing that with what I already know in boxing.
How was it being in the cage vs a ring? It was an adjustment. The cage is a lot bigger, the ropes in a boxing ring give you a little more give so you can move around more. ya know, some fighters actually enjoy fighting off the ropes where it’s not exactly the smartest thing to do with the cage–the cage hurts your back. It was definitely an adjustment but by the second round, I just got my groove. Like okay, were in a fight– it doesn’t matter where I am, were in a fight.
You do coaching as well? I am. I do mostly personal training, boxing for fitness. and over the years I’ve had a few fighters compete in the amateurs.
What does your daughter think of your career? My daughter is very used to it. It’s nothing exciting. It’s like if her mother was a police officer, doctor or anything else, it’s not extravagant. She didn’t want to go to my fight– not because she doesn’t love me so much, but because she didn’t want to go to work with her mom. It gets boring after a while. I’m sure in ten years she’ll look back and appreciate how extravagant her childhood really is. with all the things her mother has done, that she lived through. but for right now, it’s just part of what it means to grow up to her.
One word to describe Heather the fighter, one to describe Heather the person. I would say relentless. And I would say that for both. I’m driven, I won’t quit til I get what I want.
What’s your favorite quote or saying that keeps you motivated, your mantra? That’s hard. I have a bunch of favorite quotes– I’m sure if I sit on it, I can come up with a couple. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of it–but one thing is I respect all different situations. There’s not one mantra that’s gonna get through everything. You have to adjust yourself. That goes for fighting, for real life, for work and everything. You have to make adjustments to make the situation work, and I’ve been really good at that.
Is mentality and toughness either something that you have or you don’t? What do you attribute your mentality too? My mother. I don’t think it’s something you have or you don’t, I think it’s something you’re brought up. Ya know, whether or not it’s a priority inside your house. If you grew up as a child where everything is handed to you, chances are you’re gonna grow up feeling really entitled, not realizing the value of hard work. I grew up in a house where two parents worked two jobs and I was practically raising my brother and sister. I had tons of responsibility. I learned from a very young age how important it was to stay focused and take care of the things we have to even when you don’t want to.
Instincts in a fight?To me, it’s about winning, getting the job done. I think my instinct is more what do I have to do to win.
Thoughts on the UFC 125 division or are you committed to Bellator? Right now I’m committed to Bellator. The UFC is a very high–these girls are girls that have put their time in other organizations. I would be a fool to say I that I felt like can stand up with those girls, I’m not nearly near that level of experience yet. Maybe in a year, we can talk, but right now I’m really satisfied with Bellator.
What’s training regime looking like now? It’s all different. I mean, there’s only so much training you could do training a day. We were just talking about this with my coaches. It’s like your brain is a computer– and when you go for training it should be learning things. Not just going through the motions and doing the job. There’s only so much information you could put inside your head and tell your body to do in one day. Sometime’s I have three sessions a day, but they vary between learning how to do things, practicing things, and then just conditioning my body.
What’s one thing that you want people to know about Heather Hardy? If I wanted people to know one thing about me– I’m not afraid of hard work. I respect my place in the overall scheme of things. I don’t feel like I’m bigger than I am. I know that I have so much more to learn in the sport, and in life. I’m not a preacher but I’m willing to do the hard work. I’m confident that I can and I will become a champion.