Harry “Houdini” Hardwick is an English professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Featherweight division of Cage Warriors. A professional competitor since 2015, he has competed for ICE FC, BAMMA, M4TC, Bellator and FNC.
I’d like to start this off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me today and to congratulate you on your win in your debut for Cage Warriors. It must be an amazing feeling to start your career, with one of the best the business has to offer and the W at CW 124. What was your game plan going into that epic night back in June?
“The game plan was fairly simple: to pressure him, fluster him, not allow him to set his feet for extended periods of time, to not go too hard for the takedowns but just to use them to win exchanges instead of using too much energy to try and control him. After studying him we knew that a good sign we’re getting to him would be if he started shooting takedowns which he did, that’s when I really knew I’d started breaking him down.”
Taking on a veteran of the cage in Jean N’Doye must have been a proud moment, you really held your own in there. Your resilience to every shot was quite a wonder to see, without giving too much away how do you prepare yourself to withstand so many shots?
“Resilience to shots is a funny one because you can’t really train your chin, but you certainly can make your chin worse in the gym, so it’s all about finding the right balance of doing mostly controlled sparring, where you’re minimising the damage to your brain, but getting just enough hard sparring in, where you don’t panic when the hard shots come and you’re aware of them and know how to brace for the impact or roll with it. As far as how quickly I recovered after the knockdown goes, I think that’s more down to fitness, I set a very exhausting pace for myself in rounds in the gym and my S&C coach Andy at Unit 29 does an amazing job of getting us ready for fights.”
As well as resilience, you showed amazing control of the cage, anyone would have thought you were the veteran. Has being with Middlesbrough Fight Academy helped with this?
“The head coach at MFA, Abdul Mohammed, as well as being one of the best wrestlers for MMA there, he has an amazing understand of how to use footwork to control a fight. It’s something you see from all the fighters out of our gym. My other coach Peter Irving also is an expert with this stuff and it’s something that’s been drilled into me until it’s as natural as walking.”
Your dominant performance has made you one of the ones to watch, with everyone wondering who you will take on next. Whats the next goal in your career?
“The goal is the title for sure and I see myself with the belt in the next 12 months, but as dominant as my performance was, I have to be honest, there is still many, many mistakes that need fixing, so I’m looking to just get two more fights before I’m in the title picture, to give myself time to develop, so when I do fight for the belt, it’s a dominant performance from start to finish.”
Again congratulations on your amazing performance. I, for one, am looking forward to your return to the cage. Do you have a message for the fans and anybody you’d like to give a shout out to?
“Thank you and I just want to give a massive shout out to the Parmo for bringing so much joy into the otherwise terrible lives of everyone on Teesside UTB.”