By: Bryant Romero
Undefeated pro boxer Heather “The Heat” Hardy makes her third appearance in the cage at Bellator 194 on February 16 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut where she takes former boxing world champion Ana Julaton in a mma flyweight bout. Boxing Insider was able to catch up with Heather to talk about her next fight in Bellator, her passion for fighting whether it’s boxing or mma, her job as a fitness instructor, and the challenges she’s had to endure while making the transition from boxing to mma.
Photo Credit: Heather Hardy Twitter Account
BR: Are you training at Gracie’s Academy right now?
Heather Hardy: “Right now I’m at Renzo Gracie in Manhattan during the majority of my training and I train at Gleason’s in Brooklyn.”
BR: How is training going so far for this fight that’s upcoming?
HH: “It’s going great. I’ve never heard a fighter a week out of a fight to say they haven’t had a good camp. I feel good.”
BR: This is your third fight with Bellator. Obviously the money was the motivating factor for you to transition from boxing to mma. What’s been the hardest transition from one sport to the other?
HH: “Probably being able to allocate the proper amount of time for training, because I’m still taking care of my daughter, still working two jobs. I mean I’m still trying to do press and I’m doing it on 6th avenue running. Allocating the proper amount of time that’s needed to train all the different disciplines have been extremely challenging.”
BR: When it comes to the competition between boxing and the two girls that you fought in Bellator, when it comes to the striking ability, do you have respect for their striking ability, is it different?
HH: “First of all in mma they’re using 4oz gloves, so even if these girls aren’t as accurate with their punching. They’re punching with bad intentions with very little padding, so I don’t respect a punch anymore or any less regardless of who’s throwing it at me.”
BR: Besides the money factor, are you trying to accomplish something in the sport?
HH: “I just want to win some fights, get known, and maybe open up doors for bigger fights in New York City for other women.”
BR: Did you have to get your promoter’s blessing to make this transition? Did you have to go through a legal process with Lou Dibella?
HH: “Lou is like a dad to me and when I called him and asked him, you know he’s the last one that’s going to take food off my plate. And he pretty much said if this is what you really want to do. Then I’m going to let you do it.
But he didn’t have to do that. I was legally bound only to Lou. Where I’m not supposed to be competing in anything else, I couldn’t have done this without his blessing, so I’m really fortunate that I got it.”
BR: Obviously you still love boxing, you did it with not a great financial reward in return, but can you honestly say to yourself that you’re in love with mma?
HH: “I’m in love with fighting. I love to fight, I’m good at fighting. Even when I’m not good at it, I’m still better than most people would ever dreamed to be. Whether it’s mma, boxing, sword fighting, or thumb wrestling, I’m all in it.”
BR: Do you still feel you have some unfinished business in boxing?
HH: “I didn’t go anywhere, I’m boxing I think in April.”
BR: Do you see a big fight in women’s boxing with you? Maybe with one of the Serrano sisters or maybe the Top Rank Prospect Mikaela Mayer that’s coming up?
HH: “The conversation with me and Amanda (Serrano) comes up all the time. We are under the same promotional banner and we’re such good friends. We said a long time ago, if we’re going to fight, it better be for a whole lotta money, so we can go on vacation. So will a fight with her ever happen? Sure if they pay us enough.”
BR: Can you talk to me talk to me a little bit about the state of women’s boxing? Is it heading in the right direction?
HH: “Women’s boxing is certainly on the rise right now. You got Clarissa Shields headlining cards on Showtime. That’s epic, it doesn’t happen and it’s really exciting, but the problem is I’m 36 years old and I don’t have time to hope it comes around faster sooner than later.
I’m still in it, I’m still going to fight and hopefully something big will materialize but you still got to have a backup plan.”
BR: Let’s talk about your next opponent. She’s also a former champion in boxing who has transitioned. Her name is Ana Julaton. Do you have any history with her; do you know anything about her?
HH: “When I started boxing, Ana was one of the big names, everybody knew her. She was really eloquent and a well-spoken world champion who spoke out for women’s rights and equality for women’s boxers. She transitioned to mma when I was in my first year of pro boxing like 2013; I only had 3 or 4 fights.”
BR: Would you say is tougher to get in the boxing ring and fight or is it a little tougher to get in the octagon with more weapons you have to utilize?
HH: “For me it’s tougher to go in the cage because boxing isn’t tough for me. I understand every aspect of boxing. I’m still learning too many things in mma to understand everything to the extent where it’s not intimidating.”
BR: Would you say your first two fights in mma was tougher than anything you had in boxing?
HH: “I would say there was more action physically.”
BR: Who’s the best fighter in the world P4P in men’s boxing?
HH: “Right now I would say either Terence Crawford who’s an exceptional fighter. Errol Spence has really proven himself to be a problem. Lomachenko, how can you not say his name? I say those 3 guys are probably will go a long time before they get beaten.”
BR: Whatever happens on February 16th will you continue with Bellator and has UFC expressed any interest?
HH: “I haven’t had any interest in UFC; it doesn’t matter if they express it. I’m really happy with Bellator. Regardless of what happens, I’m going to keep fighting. If I walked out of my last fight and came back into the cage, I really don’t think Ana has what it takes to give me a whooping worse than the last one.”
BR: I wanted to talk to you about the shadow box Fitness classes your teaching in Brooklyn, Manhattan. What can you tell us about that?
HH: “Well, there’s a lot of new fitness inspired boutique boxing gyms popping around the city, and shadow box had contacted me, and they wanted to do something a little different. They didn’t want to be trendy boxing; they really wanted their instructors to have a good grasp of what boxing is about.
So they hired me to teach their instructors and for the last couple months I’ve been giving the instructors boxing lessons, so they now know how to teach boxing. A couple of days a week I teach classes there, just to make a little extra cash. I like it, so I teach instructional classes there now too.”
BR: What can you say about the trainers there?
HH: “All of the trainers there are great.”
BR: My final question is what’s the one thing you still want to accomplish in boxing?
HH: “I want the WBC 126 world title.”