Entering 2019, Hernandez was a highly-touted and fast-rising prospect following victories over current top-five contender Beneil Dariush and Olivier Aubin-Mercier in his first two Octagon outings.
But since then, “The Great” has exchanged wins and losses, going 3-3 in his last six. After rebounding from his latest setback against Thiago Moisés with a first-round knockout against Mike Breeden last October, Hernandez will be looking to begin his first win streak since 2018 when he returns to action this weekend.
In his way of doing so will be another of the promotion’s once-thought-to-be future stars who’s been unable to reach his potential, Renato Moicano.
While the Brazilian does boast UFC triumphs over Calvin Kattar, Jeremy Stephens, and Zubaira Tukhugov, defeats at the hands of Brian Ortega, José Aldo, “The Korean Zombie,” and Rafael Fiziev have prevented the 32-year-old from breaking into contention.
Having returned to form last time out with a second-round submission against Jai Herbert, Moicano will look to continue his momentum at UFC 271.
Despite this matchup pitting two recognizable names against each other, it initially found itself on this weekend’s early prelims, before being bumped to the main card following post-weigh-in alterations.
While some would be eager to impress on the grand stage of a pay-per-view card wherever their placement on it, Hernandez was less than pleased before the change.
“Man, I’m fired the f*ck up because of the amount of disrespect that the UFC is showing me on this card,” Hernandez told MMA Fighting on the We Got Next podcast. “We have to wait four months and then I’m on the early f*cking prelims. I mean, that incites such a rage in me so I’m coming to make a statement. I’m so fired up about that. I’m so pissed off and I’m so motivated, so I’m really eager to make a statement.”
Hernandez went on to suggest that those who were above him in the previous bout order are “statistically” below him in the promotion. That, coupled with the fact his home in San Antonio is less than 200 miles from the location of UFC 271, left the 29-year-old incredibly “frustrated” at his position.
“I’m in my state, I’m practically in my city, the only other guy [from] there [fighting outside of the early prelims] is Derrick Lewis—and rightfully so, he’s the co-main,” Hernandez added. “But how the f*ck did I get on the early, early prelims? It’s not even the prelims. Not on the main card, not on the [ESPN] prelims, it’s my peers that are barely above me, or people that are statistically below that are above me [on the card]. I’m frustrated, plus we’re in Texas.
“I’m gonna go out there, please the 15 people in the audience, get my 20-30 homies hyped. I’m gonna take out Moicano and make a statement and let them know not to discredit, or disrespect me like that again. I’m so fired up about it.”
Swanson Sends Hernandez Some Advice
After receiving some heavy criticism for his comments from fans, it didn’t take long for one of Hernandez’s UFC peers to give his take.
In a tweet, featherweight veteran Cub Swanson cited the example of his rise from the early prelims to a main event spot in the space of two fights as the reason Hernandez shouldn’t have looked down on his place on the UFC 271 card.
“I once got bumped from Co-main to FightPass prelims. Instead of complaining, I made it a point to hype up FightPass. I ended up getting a handwritten letter from the UFC thanking me and I headlined a card two fights later.”
Wherever his placement on the card, whether on the early prelims as initially planned or on the main card as is now set, one thing has always been clear ahead of Hernandez’s first appearance of 2022: a win is crucial.
With that sentiment being similar across the cage in Moicano’s corner, this clash should provide an intriguing affair inside Houston’s Toyota Center.
What’s your take on Alexander Hernandez’s comments? Should he have followed the mindset of Cub Swanson?