Alexander Hernandez had to figure out why he was fighting.
Hernandez broke into the UFC with an upset KO win over Beneil Dariush on short-notice. After the win, Hernandez was thrown into the deep end and has since had many ups and downs. Yet, after losing two in a row in 2022, he said he needed self-redemption, so he decided to step up on short notice to face Jim Miller at UFC Vegas 69.
“I was really seeking redemption after my last year,” Hernandez said to BJPENN.com. “I was staying on my manager and seeing what was out there and just by chance I happened to call him and was asking about maybe spring or if anything short notice has come up. Then, he heard Miller still needed an opponent which was a week out and I haven’t done something spontaneous like that in a while, so we jumped on it.”
Although Hernandez didn’t have much time to prepare for Miller, he says that helped him mentally. He knew he just had to go in there and fight which he did and was happy Miller was there for all three rounds.
“He came out and we both had some tricks we were surprising each other with. It was unconventional for him to keep running those blitzes on me,” Hernandez said. “He did catch me a couple of times in the first round but after that first round, I really found the range. But that did catch me off guard and I do think he and his corner thought that would deter me, and they would be able to fold me. I wasn’t there for that, I was there for some self-redemption, so I was damn sure to not let anything get to me or get under my skin. The shots I was landing were big shots and it was a whole different level of self-control.”
Not only was it a good performance for Alexander Hernandez, but just before the fight he finally figured out why he fights. He says that is big for him mentally as he knows he has mentally broken in fights which he doesn’t expect to happen now.
“I needed to find my why. I needed that to be strong enough to drive me into those dark places that happen in a fight,” Hernandez said. “Overcoming that is massive for my career. I’m my own biggest critic so I know what other people think of me. If I was fighting myself, I know what I would be saying about myself. I needed to show something to myself and make sure that I knew I could do it and do it again.”
With Hernandez now on top of his mental game, he expects to have better performances. Yet, the next time he steps into the Octagon, he wants it to be at featherweight as he believes that is where he is at his best.
“I still do have plans at 145, despite some f*****s in the media going off on that one comment. 145 is a cut but when you look at the champs and the top-five, they are all making big cuts,” Hernandez concluded. “I know I have a great team behind me so the plan is to go back down to 145. But, if I have some of the same issues mentally as I’m getting there, I’ll say f**k it and I won’t do it. But, 155 is too easy. I’m in great standing in the UFC, I got a new contract, and wherever we go from here we go from here as I’m always in that top-20 pool. This year is just all about racking up wins and being active.”
Are you surprised to see Alexander Hernandez planning to return to 145lbs?