For lightweight Alex Hernandez, knowing the path to the UFC is rarely ever easy or predictable, his focus instead over the first five years of his career was to focus instead on his own development.
Throughout all the highs and lows, Hernandez never lost sight of himself, and was able to finally earn his shot at the UFC in 2018.
“It’s been a crazy journey,” Hernandez told MMAWeekly.com. “Life has its curveballs and issues. I was constantly juggling work and being a professional fighter, and kind of going between the two.
“I’ve always had extraordinary drive and try to be the best in anything I try. This whole fight game is a crazy, crazy, thing. Anything can happen. I try to just approach training and life and everything improving myself every day. Everything I do kind of culminated up to this moment.”
“I don’t have a wife or children to think about,” said Hernandez. “Aside from family and friends, I’m kind of my own priority, so I am able to give a lot of focus to the things I need to accomplish.
“I knew this UFC opportunity was going to come. It’s the culmination of work, a lot of luck, opportunity, and a ton of determination and perseverance. I’ve never felt so ready for anything. It lined up just how I wanted to.”
On March 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hernandez (8-1) takes on Beneil Dariush (14-3-1) in a preliminary 155-pound bout at UFC 222.
“I never really think about any opponent,” Hernandez said. “I never train for any specific opponent. Especially at a weight like 155 pounds, it’s so deep and competitive; you have to be great at everything all the time.
“Most people would shy away from a Top 15 contender in the UFC (like Dariush), and I think it’s a great opportunity to make history and shock everybody. I feel like we’re going to be sharper, faster, and more dynamic, and those three attributes are going to sway the fight in my favor and expose the holes he has in his game.”
Now that he has accomplished his goal of making it to the UFC, Hernandez wants to put a stamp on his first fight for the promotion and go forward from there.
“My goal for this year was to be in the UFC, and now that’s happening, now we’re just looking opponent by opponent,” said Hernandez. “This is a huge opportunity and I’m going to seize it. I want to finish (Dariush). I want to put him away and have a devastating display of craft and skill.”