Heather "The Heat" Hardy (1-0) made a huge statement at "Bellator NYC," introducing herself to MMA fans with a third-round TKO finish of Alice "The Soccer Mom" Yauger.
The 35-year-old used her elite boxing skills -- fancy footwork, high-level head movement and a crisp jab -- to earn the biggest win of her career under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. Hardy's finish came at the 4:47-mark of Round Three.
The victory absolutely propelled the Irish talent into the national spotlight, but she's taking her new MMA career one step at a time. "The Heat" told AXS that she's not in a rush for a world title shot.
After a long, storied boxing career, she's looking at MMA as a completely new venture. She doesn't feel that her boxing resume should mean anything as far as Bellator's title mix goes. "No that would be so disrespectful for someone, 1-0, to be talking about fighting for a title," Hardy said. "Even in boxing, I'm not running around saying I deserve anything.
"When the organization thinks I'm ready, that's when we go." As Hardy mentioned, a championship opportunity can only happen with the support of Scott Coker and Bellator's matchmaking team. Is she already at that stage with the company? Does Bellator think she's ready for a title shot? Coker mentioned post-fight that he would like to still be in the Hardy business, and that he's going to continue to work with local promoter Lou DiBella. What that means is that we've likely not seen the last of her competing under the Bellator MMA banner.
A title fight after just one pro MMA bout seems a bit premature, but crazier things have happened. Skill and experience-wise, Hardy is right up there with Bellator's most elite 125-pound title contenders. A title bout pitting Hardy against Ilima-Lei Macfarlane or Valerie Letourneau wouldn't be a mismatch in either case.