Having spent the last four years building one of the most impressive resumes in boxing, current WBC international super-bantamweight champion Heather Hardy is ready to make her jump to MMA.
For Hardy, the decision to make the move to MMA has been something she has eyed for a bit, but only of late seemed like a prudent move to make.
“I went through a spell with boxing where I was promised a lot of things like TV spots and things like that which kept getting falling through,” Hardy told MMAWeekly.com. “So I started wrestling so I could keep something in my back pocket in case the boxing didn’t come around like I had been fighting for.
“I was on TV in August and things were looking great, but there was an insurance issue here in New York and boxing gates shut down for six months, I felt like it was no time like now (to jump to MMA).”
Hard admits the transition has had some bumps in the road, but as she prepares for her MMA debut, things have begun to fall in place for her.
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“It’s certainly a new animal, and things like distance and timing and movement are kind of jumbled, but at the close of this camp I’m finally starting to put stuff together,” she said. “I’m an athlete and a high-caliber boxer, so I’ve been able to pick up on other things pretty fast.”
On January 14 in Kansas City, Missouri, Hardy (0-0) makes her debut against fellow newcomer Brieta Carpenter (0-0) in a main card 125-pound bout at Invicta FC 21.
“I’m not sleeping on her,” said Hardy of Carpenter. “We’re both making our pro MMA debuts, but she’s been in MMA and is like 10 fights in with a great record. She’s a good striker with a lot of knockouts.
“For my boxing career, my coaches watch the tapes and I just prepare myself, so I don’t care too much about what she’s doing. I know I’m bringing the best Heather Hardy into that cage, and I wouldn’t want to fight me.”
Having built a successful career in boxing, Hardy knows there are a lot of expectations on her shoulders, but it’s nothing she hasn’t dealt with before.
“I think people have high expectations of me every time I hit the stage, whether it’s the ring or the cage, so I don’t feel any different on this one than I did back on my 18th (boxing) win,” she said. “Every fight is a must-win. I kind of carry that pressure with me – it’s fight or die – no matter what.
“I can’t look ahead past (Carpenter). How can I sit here and talk about making a career in MMA when I haven’t even won my first fight yet? In my first interview on Jan. 15 after this fight we can talk about what I want to do next, but right now I’ve got a girl to beat up.”
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