Alexander Hernandez is coming off of a vicious first-round knockout win and he wants to compete again before 2021 comes to a close. While there’s a lot of interesting options, he’s open to a matchup with a lightweight who made a big impact in his octagon debut.
Hernandez returned for the second time in 2021 and knocked out short-notice opponent Mike Breeden in 80 seconds at UFC Vegas 38 to get back in the win column. “The Great” bounced back from a unanimous decision loss to Thiago Moises a little over seven months earlier and initially called for a fight with his originally scheduled opponent, Leonardo Santos.
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Hernandez was asked about another potential opponent option that was mentioned quite frequently by listeners of On To the Next One in Paddy Pimblett, who is coming off of a first-round finish of Luigi Vendramini at September’s UFC Vegas 36 event.
“Damn, that’s pretty cool, that actually makes me wanna see it too,” Hernandez said of the suggestion. “In my mind, I kind of want to see him win another one to build it up, but who knows if he wins another one? Maybe take it now while it’s hot, take it while the skillet’s cooking.
“In my mind, initially, despite his media glamour and everything, I kind of want him to earn it more, but I don’t give a damn. That would boost my stock too. That would be a great fight.”
All in all, Hernandez doesn’t really care who he fights as along as his activity increases, including taking a short-notice opportunity should a fellow 155er have to withdraw before year’s end. Since signing with the UFC in 2018, the 29-year-old has only fought twice per year, much less than he would like to. After winning his first two octagon appearances against Beneil Dariush and Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Hernandez has flip-flopped wins and losses over his next six bouts.
Coming off of the loss to Moises, a fight that left a bad taste in his mouth — especially since he believed he had done enough to win — along with his recent inactivity, Hernandez had some admitted frustrations he needed to let out and Breeden was the unfortunate target.
“I had a chip on my shoulder after that last one because we thought we had it, we thought we did enough, but maybe we didn’t do enough,” Hernandez said. “I didn’t have enough intensity and I’m a lot better than that so I was frustrated. I told myself after that fight that I would never let myself fall short like that again, in the sense of physicality or intensity.
“I took that decision constructively, went back, got really grimy in the gym and I was ready. I was waiting seven months for a fight and finally got this opportunity, then the opponent falls out, and thinking I was gonna lose the fight, but thank god for Glory [MMA] and Mike Breeden for filling in. But it was like a purging let loose, so it was good to get it out.”