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Heather Hardy after TKO win in MMA debut at Bellator 180: 'I think I just fell in love'

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NEW YORK – Heather Hardy had one of the more memorable MMA debuts in recent history at Bellator 180, and after her winning performance, the professional boxing standout said she’s head over heels for the sport.

“I think I just fell in love,” Hardy told reporters following her win over Alice Yauger. “I just worked so hard, and now I can say I did it too. A lot of people said I couldn’t do it or I wouldn’t do it. And I did.”

Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) defeated Yauger (4-6 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) by third-round TKO at Saturday’s event, which took place at Madison Square Garden. The women’s flyweight fight aired on Spike’s Bellator 180 broadcast prior to the Bellator NYC event on pay-per-view.

Although she had a bit of a slow start, it was clear Hardy became much more comfortable in the cage as time wore on. By the third round, she was fully in her groove. And after a suffering a cut due to a clash of heads, Hardy poured the offense on her opponent and got the stoppage.

Hardy intends on being a multi-sport athlete who thrives in both MMA and boxing. She has no plans to focus on one specifically over the other, despite the feeling of jubilation she got from winning her pro debut.

“I’ll never leave boxing,” Hardy said. “There are girls I still want to fight in boxing. It’s not something I plan on walking away from. … I can’t wait to practice some new stuff. I’m learning.”

Hardy said she doesn’t know which sport she’ll compete in next, but she is signed to Bellator for multiple fights, so the venture into the cage was far from a one-off. What comes next, though, depends on the best opportunities.

“(I want to be) as active as I can be,” Hardy said. “I want to take the fights that makes sense, the fights maybe people want to see, fights people want to see me fight. I’m open to talk, whether it’s boxing or MMA. Let’s do whatever makes sense. I like to fight.”

With Bellator’s women’s 125-pound division quickly budding with new names and signings, Hardy put herself on the radar quickly. She said she’s not in the business of asking for specific fights and will allow Bellator’s decision-makers to groom her career how they see fit.

“That would be so disrespectful for me at 1-0 in MMA to talk about fighting for a title,” Hardy said. “Even in boxing I don’t run around saying I deserve anything. When the organization thinks I’m ready, that’s when we go.”

For complete coverage of “Bellator: NYC” and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.



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