There’s no denying that 2018 was the biggest year of lightweight Alexander Hernandez’s career.
In March of last year, Hernandez made his UFC debut in spectacular fashion by picking up a KO victory against Beneil Dariush in 42 seconds. Hernandez then followed up four months by getting a unanimous decision win over Olivier Aubin-Mercier.
“2018 had definitely been the best year of my life,” Hernandez told MMAWeekly.com. “I finally quit my job and saw myself in the constant life I need to be portrayed in kind of like the vision quest I needed to pursue.
“I had the best performance of my life (against Dariush), and then had a huge win (over Aubin-Mercier) in Canada. It’d been amazing year. Those first few wins are really just the start, but definitely there’s a lot of intel to take back home and build off of for next year.”
For his first bout of 2019, Hernandez (10-1) steps up to the biggest challenge of his career to date when he takes on Donald Cerrone (34-11) in a 155-pound preliminary bout at UFC on ESPN+ 1 on Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“It’s huge,” said Hernandez. “It’s really everything at this moment. I need this kind of a fight with a guy (in Cerrone) who is like a household name to catapult my own career.
“I’m not worried about the media hype around it, but it’s a perfect match-up at this current juncture of my career to shoot me to the next level of competition. The UFC chose me (to face Cerrone), so it makes me happy to know my vision lined up with their vision and they see me as the future, just as I see myself.”
When it comes to the technical match-up between he and Cerrone, Hernandez feels confident that his game will trump his opponent’s at every avenue in the fight.
“I’ve just got to show up,” Hernandez said. “At the end of the day there’s not a single thing that I think (Cerrone) can best me at whether it’s on the feet or the ground. Really I’m just going to be in his face and break him, whether it’s on the feet or on the ground.
“I’m always focused on evolving my own game. I don’t put too much attention on the competition. I let the competition worry about me. Wherever it goes I plan on being in his face, and I will break him.”
With his UFC career in full swing, Hernandez is looking to make his way up the ranks and hopefully find himself in title contention within the coming year.
“The way it’s lined up, the higher you climb up, your momentum might slow down just because you’re figuring out your footing in the Top 5 and things, that title shot, but I would like to have at least three big wins (in 2019),” said Hernandez.
“After I finish Cerrone, I’ll probably be Top 10 and it should only be a few more bouts until a title shot in 2020.”