Fighting on home turf at UFC San Antonio (UFC on ESPN 4) is a welcome change for lightweight Alexander Hernandez.
San Antonio, TX — After several years away, at least in terms of fight bookings, Alexander Hernandez is coming home. This weekend at UFC on ESPN 4 in San Antonio, Hernandez will be fighting at home for the first time in his UFC career. For the first time since 2016, back under the RFA banner.
Alexander “The Great” has come a long way since then. And while he hit a speed bump on the road in the form of Donald Cerrone last time out, it was an important lesson learned.
“That fight was everything for me,” Hernandez told media outlets including Cageside Press at the UFC San Antonio open workouts on Wednesday. “If I was going to lose any way, it’s from experience. I’m the stronger, faster, and I honestly believe more technical fighter all around. But it was a lack of composure that was my detriment, my downfall.”
Hernandez found himself knocked out in the second round of UFC Brooklyn by Cowboy, and he recognizes now that “if there’s anything that guy’s garnered over the last few years, it’s a tremendous mental composure. One that we hadn’t seen in his earlier fights or in his career.” That allowed Cowboy to overcome some early adversity. Hernandez, at the time, seemed to overlook that. “He presented his best, and it was a true test, and I underestimated what seems now the most prevalent thing that I should have been looking out for.”
However, rather than dwell on the loss, it was a character building moment. “It was an experience point for me, and a huge landmark in my fighting career. I told my coaches if it wasn’t that fight, it probably would have been the next one with the approach I had.”
Hernandez has not, mind you, lost any of his trademark confidence. “If there’s anything that fight taught me I wasn’t to lose, that’s the confidence. I just have to keep the hubris high and just make sure that I’m tapered in my pressure and my aggression, and just that I compose myself in the cage. It was just a good growing marker.”
On to San Antonio, this Saturday. “He’s a dog fight, he’s a grimy guy, I don’t think he’s particularly pretty anywhere,” Hernandez said of opponent Francisco Trinaldo. He’s not overlooking his opponent’s age this time. “He’s not going to be easy to put out, that’s one thing I know.”
But Hernandez believes he’s in the best shape of his life heading into UFC on ESPN 4. And he’s fighting at home. “It’s awesome. Last few fights, I’ve been on enemy terriotry. [Olivier-Aubin] Mercier in Canada, and he’s the Canadian hero right now. And then I went against freakin’ Ronald Regan [Cerrone] in New York. So it’s good to be on home soil, making the adversary pay homage and have my home team applaud, so I’m happy about that.”
Later, he would add that “San Antonio’s a sleeping giant, and I just want to be the alarm clock. Put everybody’s eyes on us, and bring awareness to the city and what we’re capable of. Teax in general is a monster, San Antonio is no different. We’re beasts.”
His goals are still lofty, beyond just proving what an athlete from San Antonio can do. “Loss is always a setback to some degree, but in the sense of rankings clout or my position, I don’t feel like it is. So the goal is still to have the belt in 2021. I think I win this fight, I get two ranked opponents and I’m looking at a title shot, especially with the way I fight and carry myself. So I don’t see any reason why we can’t stay on track.”