Rising lightweight contender Alexander Hernandez will have the biggest opportunity of his career when he takes on former title challenger and UFC great Donald Cerrone at UFC on ESPN+ 1 on Jan. 19 from inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Hernandez, 26, burst onto the UFC scene with an upset knockout of lightweight veteran Beneil Dariush in his Octagon debut just one year ago. “The Great” then followed that up with an impressive unanimous decision win over Canadian submission artist Olivier Aubin-Mercier, who was riding a four-fight win streak at 155 pounds.
Now Hernandez gets the opportunity to welcome Cerrone back to the lightweight division. Remember, “Cowboy” has been doing work at welterweight en route to setting the UFC record for most wins (21) and most finishes (15).
“There’s just forces on my side that are bigger than me,” Hernandez recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “I keep saying that sh-t. I’m just a vessel filling in, but I couldn’t be more excited to put an emphatic stamp on ESPN for the UFC and MMA and just completely merking Cerrone. Dude, this is f—king huge.”
While Hernandez is a talented fighter with exceptional physical capabilities, he isn’t that well known among casual fight fans. With just two Octagon appearances under his belt, along with a professional career that took form on the local MMA circuit in Texas, Hernandez is not the most likely candidate to land a big spot opposite “Cowboy” for UFC’s debut on ESPN.
But with keys victories over proven contenders in Dariush and Aubin-Mercier, “The Great” has earned a gigantic opportunity to prove he’s a budding star.
“Yeah, why the f-ck me?” Hernandez asked. “I don’t know. But I’ll take it to the bank.
“The UFC is laying down Persian silk linen and spreading its legs for me right now. They are letting loose all the pheromones, and I am in it. I’m definitely taking full advantage of that.”
If Hernandez is able to get past Cerrone later this month there’s no telling where that will land him within the jam-packed lightweight division. But if the 26-year-old only needed two wins to land a high-profile bout opposite “Cowboy,” it’s safe to say the UFC would reward him with a pretty exciting opportunity his next time out.
UFC on ESPN+ 1 will be headlined by a flyweight superfight pitting current champion Henry Cejudo against current UFC bantamweight king T.J. Dillashaw.
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