Few fighters have made as big of an impact in such a short time as the rising lightweight contender, Alexander ‘The Great’ Hernandez.
Hernandez will make the walk to the Octagon for just the third time when he faces Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC Brooklyn on January 19. However, the 26-year-old exhibits a cool confident demeanor well beyond his years.
“I think it took development,” Hernandez told BJPenn.com when asked about his intense focus. “A lot of it is just finding out what you’re passionate about and then when you find your passion and your purpose its easy to derive focus towards it.
“Wrestling is what first inspired me to push beyond what I thought was conceivable for myself. That evolved into the full mix of martial arts.”
To say that he is confident in his abilities might be an understatement. After just two fights in the UFC, Hernandez appears to be right at home in the Octagon. As far as nerves go, well, Hernandez doesn’t really feel those any longer.
“I don’t think I ever had butterflies in my life like I did those first [wrestling] matches my freshman year,” Hernandez explained. “My first wrestling tournament and my first wrestling dual – that was the most terrified I’ve ever been in my life. I remember being frantically nervous every single week. I hated it so much but I loved the outcomes.
“That’s the road to becoming a champion, you don’t have to love the process but you have to be obsessed with the outcome and be willing to do anything to get to it.”
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is a nice reward but often times the journey is the real gift. For Hernandez that statement holds true. Life’s lessons are not lessons at all unless you learn from them. It seems the 26-year-old Hernandez has already mastered that craft.
“The maturation that I have now is different,” Hernandez said. “Now I see myself completely different from the way I saw myself as a boy. I had to fulfill the things I needed to fulfill. I tested myself outside the physical realm in the business world and I think that is important for people developing to not get locked into any single sphere.
“For me, I did go to that business school and that developed my mind in a huge way. I worked with numbers, I developed my speech, I got in front of people much older than me and had to convince them that I was a trustworthy person for them to invest their business in.
“Building that self-assurance and growing my mind in such a way that opened the door to seeing a greater expansion of my physical capabilities,” explained Hernandez. “That allowed me to expand my mind and really see what my physical capabilities can be. By the time I got to the UFC I was a changed man.”
Alexander Hernandez will fight the Donald Cerrone at the upcoming UFC Brooklyn card next Saturday on ESPN+. It is fair to say that Hernandez’ third fight in the Octagon will be the toughest to date for him. However, one would never know that from speaking with him.
“I don’t feel fear in the back getting ready for it (the fight), I don’t even feel nerves. I feel Godsent! And I will have supreme focus.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/11/2019