Britain Hart Beltran’s fight isn’t about righting a wrong against Bec Rawlings. It’s about showing herself she can fight through anything.
On Friday, Beltran and Rawlings meet in a rematch at BKFC 26 in Hollywood, Fla. In their first meeting at BKFC 5 in April 2019, the former UFC and Bellator fighter got the nod via split decision in a very close fight. The second meeting was scheduled to take place in the main event of May’s BKFC Fight Night: Omaha event before Beltran was forced to withdraw due to a medical emergency, which she later revealed was because she suffered a miscarriage.
The painful moment added to Beltran’s sadness following a vacant title loss to Christine Ferea at February’s KnuckleMania 2 event, which showed her that the loss to Ferea no longer mattered.
“When I lost, I was really, really sad, and when I found out I was pregnant, I kind of feel like that’s where my guilt and struggle comes from because I really wanted this fight,” Beltran told MMA Fighting. “After losing it, it was like, f*** the fights, that’s the worst loss [of my life]. I can’t even believe I’d ever be upset over losing the title, or these featured fights. That was actually losing, and I think that’s the fighter’s pain that goes through our hearts. We have to fight through this pain to do what we do because not a lot of people are given this chance.
“I feel like every fighter has that one broken piece in them that gives them that strength and courage to be in there in bare knuckle, or in there boxing, or MMA with elbows and kicks. It takes a very special type of person to do that.”
After a breakout 2021 where Beltran beat former UFC fighters Paige VanZant and Pearl Gonzalez and finished Jenny Savage, she earned a BKFC title fight. The loss to Ferea felt like a big setback in an attempt to negate a prior loss, but now she has another chance to do it, and she’s looking at this bout with Rawlings as something much more than that.
“I’m not looking at this as a fight or a rematch, I’m looking at it as facing what I’m going through,” Beltran said. “2021 was my year, and from February on, I’ve really gone through some s***, and I really need to know, and to prove it to myself that I can go out there on the 24th with a game plan, with intelligence and composure, that I have the skills, the heart, and the talent, to beat anyone, to be the best, and make that climb again.”
Despite everything Beltran has gone through over the last several months, she feels she’s more than ready to step back into the squared circle. It’s not just about proving it to herself, or defeating a fighter she’s waited nearly three years to fight again, but it’s also about proving that the hard work and sacrifice means something, that the emotional turmoil was worth it, and that she’s still a player in sport.
“It is a rematch and I do feel like in my heart that I won the first time so I can get some redemption,” Hart explained. “I get to show everyone that two of the judges did get it wrong. But this is for me, and to show everyone that I do have power, can step in with power, and have that technique and a game plan, and really proving it to myself.
“I want to show I belong in this sport, that I’m one of the original dogs — a true bare knuckle fighter — and I feel like beating Bec, not just barely beating her, but really beating her and making a statement is going to solidify my name in BKFC for the future. That I fought and beat the best of the best. I’m coming out there with everything and I’ve got everything to prove to show I’ve been really working hard despite through a medical emergency — I don’t know if you can imagine going through fatigue, emotional trauma, blood work every day — to get into the gym every day with no excuses. I’m fighting through it and on the 24th, I’m going to show it was all worth it.”
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