Alexander Hernandez thinks toughest opponent is himself: ‘It’s me vs. me, featuring whoever’


SAN ANTONIO – The last time Alexander Hernandez was in the octagon, he had just been knocked out by Donald Cerrone.

About seven months later, Hernandez (10-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is slated to return to action  against Brazil’s Francisco Trinaldo (23-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC) at UFC on ESPN 4 on Saturday night.

Hernandez, an assertive 26-year-old lightweight, has used the loss and subsequent time away to improve his mental approach to MMA as a whole. At a UFC on ESPN 4 media day held Thursday, Hernandez spoke with reporters and addressed the initial devastation of the loss and what knowledge he acquired as a result.

“It (bothered me) for a long time,” Hernandez told reporters, including MMA Junkie. “Especially (because) I see myself as the best. It’s not like I handle losses well. It’s not like I can go out and grab a beer afterwards and say, ‘Hey, good job, guys.’ It was a devastating loss. I don’t prepare myself ever expecting to lose. It was something I definitely had to go through a dark place to come out and see the light and grow from.

“No, I don’t dwell on that (expletive) at all anymore. I took everything I need to take from it. I think it probably happened at the best time of my career to have it happen – and against a worthy adversary. He taught me a lot in that fight. I learned a lot about myself. Every single time I step into the cage it’s ‘Me versus me, featuring whoever.’”

Saturday night, Trinaldo will serve as the “whoever” in Hernandez’s equation. In order to prevent transforming a loss into a losing streak, Hernandez said his biggest mental betterment has taking a calmer, more calculated approach.

“I have all the same skills,” Hernandez said. “They’ve just been refined, fine-tuned, and improved. But the way that I’m displaying them now at this cadence, rather than this blow-out pace of 120% out the gate. Having a professional pace to me, it changes absolutely everything. I’m in a much better place… I feel fantastic and it’s all putting the mental and physical together in a new approach to my fighting style. I really am in the best place I’ve ever been.”

Many viewers deemed the bout against Cerrone his breakthrough performance in the trash talk department, but Hernandez doesn’t see it that way. Trash talk or not, Hernandez said he’s being true to himself – and you shouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon.

“I didn’t lose an ounce of confidence from that last fight,” Hernandez said. “I bring that heat, because that’s who I am. I’m not trying to be a good guy, a bad guy, I’m just trying to be me. You can interpret that however the (expletive) you can interpret that, am I right?

“… But I can say confidently every single time somebody asks me how I’m going to do, I’m going to kill it. I’m going to murk this guy out and I’m going to do what I do best. That’s the thing about my, ‘trash talk.’ I’m not calling people out from left field (or) right field. You’re in my lane. You’re in my scope of business. I’m going to tell you how I handle my business. That’s all it is.”

UFC on ESPN 4 takes place Saturday at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The card airs on ESPN.

For more on UFC on ESPN 4, check out the MMA Schedule.

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Max Holloway expects to challenge for lightweight title again

Max Holloway | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Max Holloway isn’t letting his failed brush with lightweight greatness deter him.

Though “Blessed” recently saw a five-year unbeaten streak come to an end at the hands of Dustin Poirier—a defeat that prevented Holloway from adding an interim lightweight title to his list of accolades—he still believes that he can join the list of fighters who have held UFC championship belts in two weight classes. Speaking at a media lunch in Los Angeles on Thursday in advance of his upcoming featherweight title defense against Frankie Edgar at UFC 241, Holloway not only sought to remind everyone that he is still evolving, but that a lightweight championship could still be in his future.

“It’s in my history,” Holloway said. “You guys watch my fights, you guys go back to all my fights, I’m a different guy every time and come July 27 you guys are going to see a different guy in there again. The kid that showed up in April, the guy you’re looking at, standing in front of him, I’d kill that kid. I’d body him. There’s no comparison and it happens, this sport or life, period, is like Chutes and Ladders. Sometimes you’ve got to slide down to climb up a bigger ladder.

“‘55 ain’t far off. That’s only 10 pounds, that’s all it is, is 10 pounds. We’ll get back there when we get back there. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later and we’ll see what happens. If it takes a 10-fight win streak to fight for another belt up there, become the double champ, it takes a 10-fight streak. That’s what it is. I ain’t scared of no work and you guys all know that. Put my nose down and get to work I guess.”

Holloway, 27, insisted that while he didn’t feel much of a difference competing at a higher weight class, the plan was always to go back down to 145 pounds. Several names such as Alexander Volkanovski, Zabit Magomedsharipov, and Chan Sung Jung have emerged as possible title challengers and though Holloway didn’t target anyone specific, he acknowledged that it makes sense for him to defend his own championship for now.

“I always wanted to and we’ve got unfinished business,” Holloway said. “There’s a lot of guys now coming up that are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and Frankie is a legend, he’s a legend. Third times a charm. It took two times to book this fight, I can’t wait.

“And I always said, champ is a champ and a king is a king of someone who defends their land, who defends their belt. That’s what true kings are, that’s what true kings do and I wanted to come back down.”

Holloway laughed at the fact that he’s been told he’s too big for featherweight and yet when it came time for him to face off with Poirier, he was then told he was too small for lightweight.

The bout with Poirier was announced in February and took place in April, which would suggest that Holloway may not have had an ideal amount of time to bulk up to a new weight class. However, “Blessed” scoffed at that talk and kept his usual attitude of “it is what it is” in regards to when the right moment will be for him to make a permanent move to 155 pounds.

“That was seven weeks to fight day, so I only had six weeks, we were still coming off of the December thing and was figuring stuff out,” Holloway said of the preparation for his UFC 236 lightweight bout. “We’ll see what happens. When I make the move I make the move and decide to put on more muscle and this and that. There’s always a narrative that people try to explore like, ‘He had to be there, he had to weigh this and that.’ There’s no difference.

“After this fight, if they call me out for August to fight D.C. (Daniel Cormier), guess what? I’m weighing around 210, 220 pounds, I’ll make that walk and I’ll fight him. You know what I mean? There’s no time in this. If you want to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world, I don’t think you should use weight as an excuse or anything really as an excuse. You just show up to fight.”

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Domingo Pilarte Says Making UFC Debut in Home State is a ‘Dream Come True’

Domingo Pilarte is ready to make his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in front of friends and family this weekend.

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What Greg Hardy Has Learned Since Joining the UFC

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Daily Debate results: Who should Conor McGregor fight when he returns to UFC?

There’s no telling when Conor McGregor will return to the cage, but UFC president Dana White is confident that he will.

Not that White knows whom McGregor will face, but he apparently has ruled out two options for the former UFC two-division champ.

On Wednesday, white told TMZ that McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) will not be facing either the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier or Jorge Masvidal, who has called for an “easy” payday by fighting McGregor.

And so, if that’s truly the case, and those options are off the table, then who should McGregor fight when he returns? That was the question we asked for our latest Daily Debate.

The results (via Twitter), which were super close:

It should be noted that our question went out before news broke of Donald Cerrone being booked to fight Justin Gaethje in September.

To hear the MMA Junkie Radio crew weigh in, watch the video above.

For more on upcoming UFC events, check out the UFC schedule.

MMA Junkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio. You can also check out www.siriusxm.com/siriusxmfightnation.

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UFC Newark poster released

Colby Covington (pictured) fights Robbie Lawler in the welterweight main event of UFC Newark on Aug. 3 | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former teammates are face-to-face on the poster for the UFC’s upcoming trip to Newark, New Jersey.

Former welterweight titleholders Colby Covington and Robbie Lawler are featured in an intense staredown on the promotional material for the Aug. 3 event that was released Tuesday.

Covington puts his six-fight win streak on the line against Lawler, a man who used to train alongside Covington at the American Top Team gym in Florida. “Ruthless” recently parted ways with the team, and a win over Covington could vault him back into the thick of the title hunt.

UFC Newark takes place Prudential Center in Newark, with the main card airing live on ESPN.

See the updated card below (bout order to be determined):

Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler

Volkan Oezdemir vs. Ilir Latifi

Jim Miller vs. Clay Guida

Mickey Gall vs. Salim Touahri

Joaquim Silva vs. Nasrat Haqparast

Jordan Espinosa vs. Matt Schnell

Lauren Murphy vs. Mara Romero Borella

Antonina Shevchenko vs. Lucie Pudilova

Trevin Giles vs. Gerald Meerschaert

Darko Stosic vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu

Ramazan Emeev vs. Claudio Silva

Scott Holtzman vs. Dong Hyun Ma

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Volkan Oezdemir vs. Ilir Latifi Shifts From UFC Newark to UFC Uruguay

A pivotal light heavyweight fight between Volkan Oezdemir and Ilir Latifi has been relocated from UFC on ESPN 5 on Aug. 3 to an event one week later. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Rafael Dos Anjos: “I Can Beat Anybody”

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Watch MMA Junkie Radio here at 8 p.m. ET with Kayla Harrison, Corey Anderson, Andre Harrison

MMA Junkie Radio kicks off tonight at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) with guests Kayla Harrison, Corey Anderson and Andre Harrison.

Kayla Harrison has sealed her spot in the PFL women’s lightweight playoffs and will join the show to discuss her preparation heading in. UFC light heavyweight Anderson has expressed his desire to be champion Jon Jones’ next opponent. Andre Harrison fights Movlid Khaybulaev on July 25 at PFL Week 5.

MMA Junkie Radio airs from 8-10 p.m. ET (5-7 p.m. PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live above or on MMAjunkie’s YouTube page. Additionally, SiriusXM Fight Nation (Ch. 156) airs the show live, or you can catch an on-demand replay on the SiriusXM apnp.

MMA Junkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ONLINE): Watch a live stream on MMA Junkie’s YouTube page.HOW TO CALL: MMA Junkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call the MMA Junkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMA Junkie Radio live and in person at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s sports book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to http://www.mandalaybay.com. (Note: You must be 21 or older to enter the casino.)
  • HOW TO INTERACT: Follow MMA Junkie Radio on your favorite social-media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  • HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: Never miss an episode of MMAjunkie by subscribing via iTunes, Stitcher or Audioboom.

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UFC Uruguay poster released

Valentina Shevchenko (pictured) defends her flyweight title against Liz Carmouche at UFC Uruguay on Aug. 10 | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Uruguay’s first UFC show has its first poster.

On Wednesday, officials released the promotional material for the Aug. 10 event, which features UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and the woman who will challenge her for that title, Liz Carmouche.

This will be Carmouche’s second shot at championship gold. Back on Feb. 23, 2013, Carmouche fought bantamweight titleholder Ronda Rousey in the main event of UFC 157 in what was the first women’s MMA fight in UFC history.

Shevchenko is seeking the second consecutive defense of her 125-pound title after defeating Jessica Eye by second-round KO at UFC 238 in June.

UFC Uruguay takes place at Antel Arena in Montevideo, Uruguay. The main card will air on the ESPN+ streaming service.

See the updated card below (bout order to be determined):

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Liz Carmouche

Vicente Luque vs. Mike Perry

Tecia Torres vs. Marina Rodriguez

Humberto Bandenay vs. Luiz Eduardo Garagorri

Oskar Piechota vs. Rodolfo Vieira

Rogerio Bontorin vs. Raulian Paiva

Cyril Gane vs. Raphael Pessoa

Enrique Barzola vs. Bobby Moffett

Taila Santos vs. Ariane Carnelossi

Rafael Fiziev vs. Alex da Silva

Laureano Staropoli vs. Alexey Kunchenko

Veronica Macedo vs. Rachael Ostovich

Chris Gutierrez vs. Geraldo de Freitas

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Myles Jury Signs Multi-Fight Deal With Bellator

Bellator MMA has signed Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Myles Jury. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

UFC Breaks 50/50 Record at UFC 239: Jones vs. Santos

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USADA suspends UFC’s Alen Amedovski for THC but gives, reduces time for cooperation

UFC middleweight Alen Amedovski has accepted a six-month suspension for the active drug in marijuana. But by cooperating with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, his time was cut in half.

The UFC’s anti-doping partner on Thursday announced a three-month suspension for Amedovski, who came in over the 150 ng/mL limit for Carboxy-THC following a drug test for his octagon debut at UFC on ESPN+ 7. The event took place April 20 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Cannabis, marijuana and hashish aren’t prohibited out of competition, and the World Anti-Doping Agency has relaxed the threshold for a positive test. But in competition, they are prohibited in the class of specified substances and carry a one-year suspension for first-time offenders.

Amedovski (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) received a reduced sentence after he completed “a USADA approved drug awareness and management program.”

“Athletes are advised that the use of a substance or medication out of competition, that is prohibited only in competition, may result in an anti-doping rule violation if the prohibited substance is still present in their body when tested at a competition,” USADA said in a statement. “USADA cannot predict the clearance time for any substance for any particular individual. If an athlete needs to therapeutically use a substance prohibited in competition and they are nearing a competition, they are strongly encouraged to contact USADA to learn if they need a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).”

Of course, no athlete to date has been able to reiceive a TUE for marijuana. Now-former UFC middleweight Elias Theodorou campaigned hard to receive one for neuropathic pain diagnosed by his doctor, but was unable to get clearance to use it in competition.

Still, the UFC has taken a relaxed stance toward the out-of-competition use of marijuana and specifically cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component in marijuana. The promotion recently convinced the Florida State Athletic Commission to shift a zero-tolerance policy to allow marijuana or CBD use out of competition.

Recently, the UFC also struck a sponsorship deal with Aurora Cannabis to advance research into CBD.

Amedovski’s suspension kicked in on April 20 and runs until July 20. The 31-year-old fighter from Macedonia is scheduled to face John Phillips (21-9 MMA, 0-3 UFC) at UFC on ESPN+ 18, which takes place Sept. 28 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 18, check out the UFC schedule.

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Alen Amedovski accepts six-month USADA sanction for cannabis metabolite

UFC Fight Night 149 in St Petersburg

Alen Amedovski in action against Krzysztof Jotko at UFC Saint Petersburg on April 20, 2019 | Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

On Thursday, USADA announced that UFC middleweight Alen Amedovski accepted a six-month sanction after failing a drug test in April.

The 31-year-old tested positive for Carboxy-THC, a cannabis metabolite, from an in-competition urine sample collected on April 20, 2019, when he fought Krzysztof Jotko at UFC Saint Petersburg. Per the release, Amedovski successfully completed a USADA-approved drug awareness and management program to have his suspension reduced by three months.

Because Amedovski’s period of ineligibility began on April 20, this sanction will not affect his recently announced bout with John Phillips at UFC Copenhagen on Sept. 28.

In his UFC debut against Jotko, Amedovski lost a unanimous decision. His pro record stands at 8-1.

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Alen Amedovski Accepts Reduced Suspension for Marijuana

Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight Alen Amedovski has accepted a reduced suspension after testing positive for marijuana. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Statement on Alen Amedovski

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Greg Hardy wants to become a UFC champion: ‘I’m here to take everything’

SAN ANTONIO – Love him or hate him, Greg Hardy is in it for the long haul.

He takes on Juan Adams at UFC on ESPN 4 on Saturday at AT&T Center in San Antonio. It will be just his third UFC fight, and already he is eyeing championship gold.

“I am going for the heavyweight gold,” Hardy told MMA Junkie after a Wednesday workout. “I’m here to take everything that everybody loves and adores and put it around my waist.”

Hardy (4-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has split his first two appearances in the UFC. He had a disqualification loss to Allen Crowder at UFC on ESPN+ 1 in his official promotional debut, but followed it up with a first-round TKO win over Dmitrii Smoliakov at UFC on ESPN+ 8.

He once again will be featured on the main card – his first two fights were co-main events. And his placement high up in the billing so early in his UFC career has brought criticism.

“The Prince of War” knows the kind of spotlight on him every time he fights. But he said he sees it as an opportunity to show the world what he is capable of.

“My fights are highlighted – they’re not the most talented people in the ring,” Hardy said. “I’m not fighting 50-0. I’m not fighting Floyd Mayweather-caliber type of guys, or the Cain Velasquezes out there. But every fight is a showcase, so I’m looking for the finish. I don’t have the privilege of going out there, trying things and making mistakes and errors. I’m coming to execute. I’m coming to finish, the best I know how, with the best tools that I have.”

In Adams (5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), Hardy gets arguably the toughest test of his young MMA career – and an opponent who has not been shy about how he feels about him.

Hardy, however, doesn’t seem fazed by any of it. When asked if Adams confronted him at all when seeing him around at the fighter hotel or during media obligations, Hardy said he does his talking in the cage.

“I don’t think that would be smart for anybody,” Hardy said. “I send my messages in the ring. I used to send them on the field. When you’re the baddest man on the freakin’ planet, you don’t have to talk trash (or) coax people into fighting before the fight. They lock us in a cage.”

This is nothing new for the former Dallas Cowboys defensive end. He understands it’s part of the game and welcomes it.

“(MMA is) kind of being like in the NFL – it’s an everyday job,” Hardy said. “I’m used to it, and it comes with the territory. You can’t have half the planet love you and expect the rest to follow suit. It’s a checks and balances kind of thing, and it’s a democracy. It’s their right, it’s their purpose in life (to dislike me), and I love it.

“We’re here to break faces. This is not a nice guys sport, and I’m a nice guy until they lock the cage. When I’m in the cage, I’m coming to break your face in every single way possible. I’m thinking about learning some capoeira, all that stuff. I want to break people down in beautiful, phenomenal ways, and it’s coming soon.”

The DQ loss to Crowder had some questioning Hardy’s experience and cardio. But since the win over Smoliakov, he thinks he’s come a long way in a hurry, and it’s all starting to come together.

“I’m a more calm, more happy, more deadly version of myself,” Hardy said. “I found the peace in violence. I found my spot. I found my niche, and I feel good about it. Nobody can take it away.”

Hardy’s experience as a pro football player was invaluable, and he said he understands the kind of mindset he needs to excel in MMA. Fight by fight, he thinks he is getting there.

“A long time ago, I found my place,” Hardy said. “I found a home amongst the elite in the world, the nation, the 1 percent of the 1 percent. To be there, to be a part of that club, you had to be in that zone. You had to be in that zone consistently, every day, with half the world shunning you, looking down on you, hating your team.

“It’s a place you had to go, and I’m slowly but surely finding that place in MMA and fight sports, and I find myself every now and then getting into that zone.”

For more on upcoming UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC schedule.

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Coach: Sergio Pettis targeting San Francisco card, return to flyweight

Sergio Pettis | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Follow the bouncing Sergio Pettis.

With the status of the UFC’s flyweight division being so uncertain for the last year, it made a lot of sense for Pettis to return to the bantamweight division for his last bout at UFC on FOX 31, even if it was clear he’d be giving up a few pounds and inches to opponent Rob Font. Pettis went on to lose a unanimous decision, and then in June, he withdrew from a bantamweight bout against Ricardo Ramos.

Now, with his minor injuries on the mend according to head coach Duke Roufus, Pettis is eyeing a return to competition at the UFC’s upcoming Oct. 12 event in San Francisco. And he’s also planning to drop back down to 125 pounds, where he rose as a contender in the UFC, with the division apparently experiencing some stability.

“We just talked to his management team and we’re seeking to get on the San Francisco card,” Roufus recently told MMA Fighting. “He’s looking to return to flyweight as well. I was with Henry Cejudo at a UFC pool party and I said, ‘Hey, thanks for saving the flyweight division.’

“I mean, the UFC said it didn’t go away, but it really did go away, they cut a lot of fighters, but Sergio wants to return to flyweight. He had a lot of success there.”

Pettis lost two of his last three fights before moving up to take on Font, though he went the distance with both Jussier Formiga and Cejudo, the current champion of the 125-pound and 135-pound divisions. Speaking to MMA Fighting in April, Roufus expressed confidence in Pettis’s return to bantamweight, saying that the flyweight cut was starting to take its toll on the 25-year-old fighter.

Now that Pettis is changing divisions once more, Roufus is standing by the decision.

“It’s just he’s going through a weird phase of his life,” Roufus said. “I think when he was younger, in between fights he was maybe a little less disciplined. He turns 26 next month and he lives a very disciplined lifestyle year-round. He’s very fit, does a lot of running, I just see that he’s changed as an athlete. My point is when he went to bantamweight he didn’t actually gain that much weight to become a bantamweight, which is weird. He would have had to go on a serious lifting regime to maintain the strength at bantamweight. …

“Sergio’s my dear friend, my teammate. Sergio, you want to be a flyweight, you’re gonna be a flyweight. Once I dial my head in to whatever these guys want, I support them. Is lightweight a tough weight cut for Paul Felder? Yes it is, but if Paul Felder wants to fight at lightweight, we’re fighting at lightweight and that’s what I do. I support my people.”

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Thiago Santos Claims Successful Surgery: ‘Everything is Fixed’

After a four-hour surgery on both of his knees, Thiago Santos shares good news as he is heading towards a full recovery.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

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