Issac Hardman will make his promotional debut for BRACE on Saturday October 8th when the show rolls back into the Gold Coast for the second time this year.
Hardman is currently riding a four fight win streak, and remains undefeated in his professional career with two of those finishes coming via TKO in the first round. Training out of Integrated MMA with the likes of Adrian Pang, Ben Nguyen and Damien Brown has provided the “Headsplitter” with the best mentors and training partners a young guy starting his career could ask for. The pressure, and the target that inevitably gets painted on a rising prospect, is inevitable but Hardman takes it all in his stride.
“I don’t feel like I have a target on my back at all I’m still a baby in this fight game, I’m happy to be sitting in the shadows for now. I’m not in a rush, another year or so and I feel like I’ll be on a whole new level again and that’s when I think that target will really be on my back! Training at the best gym in Australia makes me more like the shooter and everybody else are the targets,” Hardman told BRACE.
“Clean records are what everybody wants because they think that’s how they will get to the big promotions, and yes ultimately that’s the plan, I’d be lying if I told you otherwise. Having said that, I really like the hard, tough fights that get you more exposure then the easy fights. A clean ‘sandbagged’ record is worse then a tough loss in my opinion.”
The man looking to hand Hardman his first loss is Sean Le Gourrierec. The Melbourne local trains with Absolute MMA and is a a Pan Pacific and Victorian BJJ champion. His most recent victory at Minotaur back in June, which he won via Armlock submission, attests to how comfortable and well versed Le Gourrierec is on the mat. Hardman on the other hand is more well known for his striking but has managed to etch a solid takedown defence into his arsenal which will help keep the fight where he likes it – on the feet.
“I’ve had a little look at a couple of Sean’s fights and he is highly ranked in BJJ but this is MMA not a grappling match. I’ve just come off a fight where a natural 77kg guy tried to take me down for three rounds and I feel like I did well to keep it on the feet! Plus we have some of the best talent in Australia at Integrated and we wrestle a lot so I’m not concerned too much, and of course I want to keep the fight where I like it and it’s no secret that I like to stand and fight at range! Sean’s last fight on BRACE he looked a little gassed and I’m always pushing to get fitter, faster and stronger so I feel like I’ll bring to much pressure and I’ll be to clean on the feet.”
As for who Hardman thinks will take away the BRACE lightweight belt this year, his response is firmly with teammate Alex McDonald who has impressed over the course of the tournament with a second round TKO over Guy Belgrove and most recently a unanimous decision over the highly touted Jesse Medina in the semi-finals back in August on BRACE 42.
“I want to legitimately earn these Australia Titles and I’ve got a really good feeling my team mate Alex McDonald is going to be taking that belt by the end of the year! So, maybe that can be something to work towards by the end of next year!”
BRACE 44 takes place at Southport RSL, Gold Coast on 8th October 2016. Tickets are available through BRACE with all fights streamed live through UFC Fight Pa