Unbeaten top contender Heather Hardy will go from the boxing ring to the cage in mixed martial arts on June 24, when she makes her MMA debut for the Bellator promotion.
Hardy, 35, is 20-0 (4 KO) in her pro boxing career, and is a familiar name on New York area cards. The Brooklyn fighter has been a regular on shows at the Barclays Center, and has never fought outside of New York. She’s known as a legitimate drawing card for the shows she appears on, making her an attractive addition to the Bellator 180 event at Madison Square Garden. It will be her first time fighting at MSG.
Hardy will be facing Alice Yauger (4-5), who is coming off of a loss in her last fight. Hardy is expected to remain active in both sports going forward, rather than going from boxing to MMA full time, as was the case with Holly Holm, the former boxing champion who went on to become a champion in UFC, and was the first fighter to defeat Ronda Rousey in 2015.
Hardy was previously scheduled to fight for the Invicta promotion in January, but her fight there fell through due to a late injury to opponent Brieta Carpenter. That opened her up in terms of MMA free agency, and allowed her to make this deal with Bellator.
Bellator 180 will be headlined by faded versions of Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva, as well as the return of Fedor Emelianenko, also well past his prime.