Heather Hardy discusses death threats after last Bellator fight, gym change to Serra-Longo

NEW YORK – Heather Hardy left the cage after her last MMA fight glad she won the battle, even if it wasn’t the most exciting fight in the history of the sport.

Hardy (2-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) defeated Ana Julaton via unanimous decision in a bout in February of last year in which a pair of strikers engaged in a grappling match, one which Hardy prevailed in a battle of wills.

But the crowd in Uncasville, Conn., didn’t like the fight. And then when Hardy logged in to her social media, she really understood the depth of the fans’ antipathy.

“I was crying the next day,” Hardy told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s Bellator 222 media day. “I had to put my social media down. I got better feedback from when that girl broke my face than I did with the boring jiu-jitsu fight. I insulted the masses.”

While many would become embittered by such an experience, Hardy went the opposite route: She decided it was time to become a more exciting fighter.

“All the fans hated it,” Hardy said. “They were sending me death threats. And it was then that I realized before I’m an athlete, I’m a performer, I’m an entertainer, and if I’m not entertaining then it doesn’t matter. So my personal goals don’t really make a difference. I gotta go in there and beat the (expletive) out of of this girl, and I don’t really care how it looks, and give the fans what they want to see.”

Now Hardy, who has twice defended her featherweight boxing belts sinc she was last seen in a cage, returns with a new camp and a new attitude. Hardy will square off against Taylor Turner (3-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at Bellator 222, and she does so as the newest standout of the famed Serra-Longo Fight Team in Long Island, having changed her MMA location away from Renzo Gracie’s gym.

As far as Hardy is concerned, the change has made all the difference in the world.  

“I have a new fight camp, I’m training out at Longo-Serra, so I have all these, like, I love it out there because they’re all fight nerds like me, you know? They break everything down, they explain things to you, you get like really hands-on training, so I’m super excited for the progress I’ve made and the new stuff I’ve learned,” Hardy said.

“It’s hard to get a coach to commit to you when you’re flopping back and forth in both sports, so, you know, it’s an awesome coach at Renzo’s, and he’s a busy guy. It’s hard for him to commit to me when I’m not committing to him. I had my last fight, and I took two boxing matches, had to do my world title, and you can’t be doing wrestling and jiu-jitsu when you’re going into a world title fight, so he kind of didn’t want to work with me anymore, and I had to find a new coach. Ray Longo didn’t know it, but now he’s stuck with me.”

Bellator 222 takes place Friday at Madison Square Garden. The main card streams on DAZN following prelims on MMA Junkie.

For more on Bellator 222, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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