Bellator women’s flyweight Heather Hardy realizes that entertaining the fans is as important as winning fights.
Hardy entered the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2017 where she enjoyed a successful Bellator debut against Alice Yauger, winning via TKO. Her next fight was a bloody war with Kristina Williams, which she eventually lost via TKO after the doctors called an end to the fight.
The boxing champion got back to her winning ways at Bellator 194 in February last year when she out-pointed Ana Julaton. However, unlike her previous two fights, this was mostly a grappling bout which the crowd did not appreciate. She then checked her social media, where she received death threats for her performance.
As a result, she now plans on putting a beating on Taylor Turner, who she will face at Bellator 222 this Friday:
“I was crying the next day,” Hardy told MMA Junkie. “I had to put my social media down. I got better feedback from when that girl [Williams] broke my face than I did with the boring jiu-jitsu fight. I insulted the masses.
“All the fans hated it. They were sending me death threats. And it was then that I realized before I’m an athlete, I’m a performer, I’m an entertainer, and if I’m not entertaining then it doesn’t matter. So my personal goals don’t really make a difference. I gotta go in there and beat the (expletive) out of of this girl, and I don’t really care how it looks, and give the fans what they want to see.”
Hardy Training At Serra-Longo
Her mindset is not the only thing that has changed. For this upcoming fight, Hardy will also be showing the results of training with a new fight camp in Long Island’s Serra-Longo. She was previously training in Renzo Gracie’s gym:
“I have a new fight camp, I’m training out at Longo-Serra, so I have all these, like, I love it out there because they’re all fight nerds like me, you know?” Hardy added. “They break everything down, they explain things to you, you get like really hands-on training, so I’m super excited for the progress I’ve made and the new stuff I’ve learned.
“It’s hard to get a coach to commit to you when you’re flopping back and forth in both sports, so, you know, it’s an awesome coach at Renzo’s, and he’s a busy guy. It’s hard for him to commit to me when I’m not committing to him. I had my last fight, and I took two boxing matches, had to do my world title, and you can’t be doing wrestling and jiu-jitsu when you’re going into a world title fight, so he kind of didn’t want to work with me anymore, and I had to find a new coach. Ray Longo didn’t know it, but now he’s stuck with me.”
Bellator 222 takes place Friday at New York’s Madison Square Garden. It will be headlined by a welterweight grand prix semifinal between champion Rory MacDonald and Neiman Gracie.