Bellator 222 is a pivotal fight in world champion boxer Heather Hardy’s MMA career

In the 14 months since she picked up a unanimous decision victory over Ana Julaton at Bellator 194, flyweight Heather Hardy returned to boxing with mixed results.

While Hardy was able to pick up two wins in her return to boxing, including one that secured her the WBC female featherweight championship, just as many important opportunities fell through.

“After I fought Ana, I came back to boxing and it was a really long period of time negotiating to see whether or not I was going to be able to fight for a world title,” Hardy told “It was supposed to happen last summer and the fight got pushed off until late October (which I won).

“Come December there was talks about unifying the belts. We spent two and half months negotiating a unification bout with the girl with the WBA and WBC titles (in Jalena Mrdjenovich) and that never materialized.”

While Hardy has been fighting professionally since 2012, she admits that having bouts fall through is still a disheartening experience.

“I don’t think you can ever get used to it,” said Hardy. “I think it’s like when you love your boyfriend and he keeps cheating on you. It huts just as bad every time.

“Disheartening is a great way to put it. It’s disappointing, it’s sad, it’s upsetting, and you get your hopes up only be let down. (Women in boxing) get a lot of promises, a lot of maybes, a lot of non-committals, and things kind of fall through at the last minute, and six months have gone by and you don’t have a fight.”

On Friday in New York City, Hardy (2-1) returns to MMA to face Taylor Turner (3-5) in a 125-pound preliminary bout at Bellator 222.

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“There some buzz on Twitter about how I’m sleeping on (Turner), and I’d like to set the record straight: I sleep on no one,” Hardy said. “Especially in the sport of MMA and how dangerous it is, I’ve never once overlooked any single opponent, particularly in the cage.

“This girl has a ton more experience than me. She knows how to do more things to me. I’m not going in there saying I’m better than you, I’m going in there saying I’m tougher than you and I’m going to make it out with what I’ve got.”

For Hardy, June 14 could help be a deciding factor in what combat sport she chooses to pursue not only for the remainder of 2019, but for the rest of her fighting career.

“After this fight I’ll have a better idea of what it is I want to do,” said Hardy. “There was some talk of me doing a boxing match and defending my title, but I’m currently without a boxing promoter.

“Boxing is a dirty sport to be in when somebody’s not protecting you. It kind of has me feeling that I want to spend my last year of fighting here fighting in the cage.”