EXCLUSIVE: Heather Hardy Reflects on Her Canceled MMA Debut in Invicta FC

At Bellator 222, Heather Hardy will have her 4th MMA fight, taking on Taylor Turner at Madison Square Garden.

Debuting in June 2017, Hardy is still new to Mixed Martial Arts but entered the sport with impressive boxing credentials. Nonetheless, Hardy begun her MMA career inside the Bellator cage though in truth, her debut was initially scheduled to take place elsewhere. Booked to fight Brieta Carpenter at Invicta FC 21, Hardy's planned starting point fell through. In an interview with Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp, Hardy reflected upon the circumstances in greater detail.

“It was disappointing because I’d trained really hard," she recalled. "The truth is that my opponent had dropped out the day before we were set to fly out to, I believe it was Kansas City or whatever. And they wanted to give me a last minute replacement. In boxing, I would’ve been fine with that because nobody’s gonna surprise me in a boxing ring but I really felt like my MMA debut needed to be not a last minute, fly by the seat of your pants, put you in with anyone.

"And when my manager had looked up the opponent they wanted to give me, it was kinda like ‘come on,’ you know? Yeah Heather’s got 15 fights but you’re putting her in there with someone with tons of experience and it was like a notable name. We kinda just said ‘absolutely not.’ I’m real self-aware, and I have no problems staying in my lane. I’m great at boxing but there’s tons of s**t in MMA that I have no idea about because I’m still a baby. I’m still like in 1st and 2nd grade here."

Nonetheless, Hardy is certainly more experienced now than she was then, going 2-1 in her three MMA bouts thus far. She hasn't stepped inside the cage since February 2018 though, boxing twice and scoring victories both times. When asked about what she's learned, Hardy had an interesting response. “I learned that boxing is more of a dance," she told Fightful.

"Because I’m so experienced in it, I’ve been in the ring with so many different boxers it’s like nobody can surprise me. When it comes to MMA, you have to do what you know how to do and if that fails, you just have to like, take it to the street. I’ve learned that in boxing, you can’t get emotional. In MMA, you almost have to."

If that's the case, expect an emotional Hardy at Bellator 222, looking to make it two wins straight in her return to the cage. That event takes place on June 14th at Madison Square Garden and will air on DAZN. It's currently headlined by Rory MacDonald's title defense against Neiman Gracie.

For Fightful's full interview with Hardy, check out the video above.

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