Anthony Hernandez on DWTNCS opponent: “He’s been pampered his entire life, he’s never had to struggle”
LFA middleweight champion, Anthony Hernandez (6-0) is set to compete in week 2 on season 2 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series against Jordan Wright (9-0) on June 19th. In this series, up to two or three fighters, every week have the opportunity to be awarded a UFC contract based on their performance.
Leading up to this fight, the Dunnigan, California resident, Hernandez has dealt with a roller coaster ride of events since the beginning of the new year. Between fighting for an LFA title, losing his father, the birth of his daughter, an opportunity to fight for a UFC contract, and much more.
In January, Hernandez defeated Brendan Allen (8-3) via unanimous decision for the vacant LFA Middleweight title in a five-round war. This was the first fight of his career that went to decision. Prior to that, he had only accumulated 12 minutes and 23 seconds of fight time in his professional career. In turn, he was very critical of his performance and his preparation leading up to the fight.
“I wasn’t happy with it,” Hernandez told MMA Today, “I’m not taking anything away from Brendan, kid is a fucking stud. It’s plain and simple. He’s a great guy too, I actually consider him one of my buddies. I talk to him every once in a while.”
“I got lazy in the gym I feel like I was going through the motions,” he explained. “I wasn’t trying to finish people like I usually do. When I was younger and coming up I would knockout anyone that was in my way at the gym but I started learning you can’t do that because then you don’t have training partners. But this fight camp I’ve warned everyone that when it’s fight time I’m going to try to rip your fucking head off. So I’m just trying to get back to being the old me.”
The original plan for Hernandez after getting the LFA title was to defend the belt against Ian Heinisch (10-1) in the following months. However; due to an injury, he was unable to return and defend his title. Subsequently, Heinisch fought Gabriel Checco (10-3) for the interim Middleweight championship and won via knockout in the first round.
“Congratulations to him for getting the interim belt,” Hernandez said of Heinisch. “I was supposed to fight him but I was still fucked up from my last fight. My eye got infected and shit. The way my insurance was set up wasn’t good so I had to have a friend that is a nurse cut my eye open with no fucking numbing shit and push everything out. I had to like let it heal from the inside out and my hands were all fucked up from fighting.”
The following months after winning his title became difficult for Hernandez and his family as his father had an accident and ended up in the hospital.
“To start off my dad almost died when I was three years old when he got an infection and water in his lungs,” he recalled. ”After that lung infection he had half a lung, and just over the years of being a diesel mechanic and shit, breathing the badass toxins and shit in basically his lungs started hardening. When they did a biopsy they tried to cut a piece and it broke off. He had to have a tube in his side draining out the fucking fluids and the doctor pulled it out too soon so the fluid filled up, pushed his lung over, and dropped him. Sam Toomer and my sister actually caught him because he collapsed and they rushed him to the hospital. Paramedics had to come to the house and revive him because he kept dying and coming back.
They were saying the next process, if we wouldn’t have collapsed, would be he needed a replacement lung. Basically, we didn’t get that far. Then with the 90 minutes of no oxygen to the brain, it swole up. We did this cooling process that was supposed to help the swelling go down but unfortunately it didn’t work.
He told us when we were younger ‘I’m probably going to die before I turn 50’ and so he’d always tell us what he wanted, what his wishes were. So pretty much once they told us he was a vegetable, we pulled the plug.”
This time was hard for him as his father had played an integral role in his growth as a mixed martial artist. They had bonded for years over this as his father would invest in his dream and acted as his primary sparring partner when he first began training in the sport.
“He was fucking awesome,” Hernandez exclaimed, “Back in the day, I trained at Woodland and we didn’t really have anyone that knew anything because everyone was learning how to train. My dad wrestled in high school and he was actually really fucking good. He used to be one of my main sparring partners. I used to hate hitting him, I would focus on the wrestling and shit with him. When I started growing up we couldn’t train together anymore because I got too beastly. It was fucking fun. We had a great time we had a great run. He pretty much sculpted me to be the man I am today.”
In a series of unfortunate events, the tides began to turn for Hernandez as he welcomed his daughter into the world less than a month after his father passed away. He is no stranger to overcoming adversity, and during that time kept a positive outlook on the troubles he was dealing with.
“It has its ups and downs, just like anything in life you gotta figure shit out and keep going or else you just stay stagnant,” Hernandez said, “So basically with my dad’s death, it sucked, but I mean I’m blessed he didn’t die when I was three. I’m blessed to have him as long as I did. My son got to meet him, but then when one person dies pretty much someone comes back, like reincarnation. It’s shitty but it’s kinda cool that as he passed away my daughter was born. It just fills your heart with more happiness. So you don’t focus on the sad.”
So now, over the course of just a few months, Hernandez won a title, worked through injuries, lost his father, welcomed his daughter into the world and is now looking ahead to the future. In his sights, is the opportunity of a lifetime to fight for a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Ahead of fighting on DWTNCS, Hernandez has been training at MMA Gold, Marinobles, and Brito MMA where he has been working on his striking. He feels much more confident about this camp and his preparation ahead of his fight against fellow prospect Jordan Wright.
“Training-wise everything has been going great and I’ve been killing it,” Hernandez continued, “This fight camp, like I said I’ve been finishing everyone. I’ve been submitting black belts in the gym, submitting a lot of people so I’d say we’re back on track.”
Ahead of their DWTNCS debuts, Hernandez and Wright have some bad blood boiling after Wright did an interview with FanSided MMA and made claims that he will finish Hernandez in the first round.
“First off I wanna say to him that he’s a bitch, for saying he’s gonna knock me out,” Hernandez stated, “When we were face to face he was very cool and shook my hand. Then as soon as he got on camera he had to be a little bitch and start running his mouth. I mean not everyone’s a man I guess. No one likes to talk face to face anymore.
You look at his opponent’s records and they’re all fucking scrubs,” he continued. “I think you look at his opponent’s records and it’s like 9-38 or some bullshit. He’s been pampered his entire life, he’s never had to struggle.
He’s a karate guy; I fight with a lot of strikers, so I see that shit every day. He’s got jiu-jitsu too; I see that shit every day too. It’s another fight to me. I train to fucking kill people so I mean it’s what my game plan is for this fight, get in his face and beat his ass.”
Looking ahead, if he is not granted a contract, Hernandez plans to defend his LFA middleweight title. That would be a title unification fight against current interim champion after knocking out Gabriel Checco in the first round.
“Worst case scenario I don’t get an exciting knockout or I don’t have an exciting fight, then its go back to LFA and defend my belt,” Hernandez said. “But I’m confident enough that I will get a contract at the contender series. Either way, the UFC cannot deny me, I will be up in that bitch.”
This ones for you Dad ❤️🇲🇽 Hurts not having you here anymore but at least you’re no longer suffering, I know you’ll be tuning in from heaven watching me work for what’s mine 🥊🙏🏽🇲🇽 Thank you @traviesa_jh and @sordboardshop shit came out beautiful ❤️🙏🏽 #commingforthatcontract #dwtncs #RIPDad #TeamFluffy #HernandezPride #mma #proathlete #Ufc #letsgo #TimeToGoToWork #Chainsaw #sordboardshop #Dunnigan #Woodland #Esparto #Madison #Norcalboys