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Taylor Turner on finishing Heather Hardy: 'The best views come after the hardest climbs'

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NEW YORK – There was a lot of buzz surrounding Heather Hardy entering Friday’s Bellator 222 card at Madison Square Garden. Her opponent, Taylor Turner on the other hand? Not so much.

As Turner displayed Friday night, buzz doesn’t win fights.

When the cage door closed, buzz proved meaningless, as the relative-unknown Turner (4-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) defeated Hardy (2-2 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) in swift, dominant fashion. After a few brief exchanges on the feet, Turner managed to secure top position and then mount. Dozens of strikes later, the fight was waived off.

“I know [Hardy] can knock teeth out of people, and I thank God I didn’t have to feel that today,” Turner laughed, when talking to the media following the bout. “She’s a gamer and you could see it in her eyes that she was ready for this. That’s what I felt the most– ‘Oh look at her, she wants to hurt me.’”

Feeling overlooked during her first Bellator MMA fight week, Turner mustered up all of the doubt and transformed it into motivation.

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“Coming into it I knew I was going to be an underdog,” Turner said. “I knew I was going to be against one of the champions and that lit a fire under me to be ready from the beginning. Honestly, I’ve dreamt of this–[I’ve] breathed it day in and day out. And so, to visualize it and have it come true is amazing.”

Doubt is not a new concept to Turner, who has become well-acquainted with the term over the span of her roller-coaster career. The 36-year-old flyweight suffered her fair share of losses early on, causing some around her to question her decision to fight.

“I went through a losing streak for a long time,” Turner explained. “And I stuck with it even when people were like ‘Maybe it’s not for you. Maybe you’re too nice, or too happy, or too whatever to be a fighter.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’ve got it in me.’ So it’s amazing. I just thank God.”

A proud competitor, Turner says she realized a dream Friday night – a memory that will last her a lifetime. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based fighter even went as far as to call the victory “heaven.”

“I have a feeling I won’t sleep for days,” laughed Turner. “I have dreamt about this and thought it could come true and had faith in it, but it still is unbelievable. For all those losses, for all of those hard times, this feeling you can’t buy. You can’t get it anywhere else and you can’t do anything for [it]. This is why you do it. I wish I had better words, but both words and silence transgress, which means just ‘it is’. So I wish I could tell you more, but it’s probably the top of the mountain. The best views come after the hardest climbs.”

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

Gallery

Photos: Best of Bellator 222 prelims at Madison Square Garden

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