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Heather Hardy vs Ana Julaton: Boxers set to meet at Bellator 194

The two boxers will meet in mixed martial arts next month.

Heather Hardy v Edina Kiss Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

An exploded nose, whatev.

It will take more than that to keep this good woman down…

Blood spilled, yep, so what, who gives an eff. I got more of that.

And she can read, even when that nose was still a bit swollen, she knows what they say on social, the bravehearts keyboard tapping from the sofa, with the elastic stretched on their waistbands of their sweatpants, in between slurps of soda.

“Told ya so, Heather Hardy’s a bum, blondie had it coming to her.”

She reads it, and no, she’s not immune to feeling a sting when the critics throw the darts. But she’s been through worse than an exploded nose. Read up on her history…she, statistically, should not be fighting again, as she is against Ana Julaton on February 16 for Bellator at Mohegan Sun, because most who’d been what she’s been through would have stopped soldiering on.

Eff that. Fighting is what she does, is who she is. Coming from where she’s come, if she stopped fighting today, she would have over-performed.

“I am strong, and I am determined to rise,” Hardy told me Friday, after Bellator put out the news that she will be rumbling with fellow boxer turned two-sport athlete Ana Julaton next month. “It’s gonna take a lot more than a kick to the face to stop me. Ana did a whole bunch of interviews before the last fight, saying I was afraid of her, and I ducked her in boxing and MMA. I’m ready for a fight.”


So, will there be extra nerves, after that Kristina Williams left leg round house connected and started a stream of blood, and forced the doc to pull the plug in round two on October 20, at Mohegan Sun?

“I have been sparring so much, if my nose didn’t break again yet, I know we are good,” said Hardy, age 35, 1-1 in MMA, 20-0 in boxing, and under the DiBella Entertainment boxing banner. “Plus, the doctor said it would take the force of that first kick to break it again. If anything it’s made me more confident. I always knew I was tough, but every fight shows me how much more I can take, how much more I can endure and fight through.”

And what of Julaton (age 37; 2-3 in MMA, debuted MMA in 2014)? What does she bring from her table?

“She has a lot of experience of course, on the big stage as well. So I don’t have that advantage. She is a champion, so she has that same ‘no-quit’ attitude. Plus she has much more MMA and martial arts experience than I do.”

The California resident holds a 14-4-3 record in boxing, after debuting in 2007.

“But I’m a fighter. If we had a fight in the street over a parking spot, I got me over her all day and twice on Sunday.”

My three cents: It is interesting that this fight is happening not in a ring, but in a cage. That’s because the economics support that structure. Women’s MMA, post Ronda Rousey, is accepted in their community, and thus, the market is healthy.

The market and the acceptance is still being built in the boxing sphere, with Claressa Shields being pushed by Showtime. HBO isn’t on board, and I think ESPN could be persuaded, if Top Rank’s and Golden Boys’ female athletes pan out. But it’s money that matters, all too often, and decisions are so very often based upon that adage. Yes, Hardy has fighting in her blood…but the landlord prefers green over red for rent. So she has to go where the money flows more freely.

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