Prior to the departure of Anthony “Fluffy” Hernandez (6-0 1NC), an undefeated prospect out of Dunnigan, California, for Brazil in his UFC debut on February 2, 2019, I was able to share in a verbal exchange, which is the only kind that is safe with this heavy-hitter, before he began Jiu-Jitsu practice at Infinite Jiu-Jitsu in Rocklin.
The regional scene has already rallied behind Hernandez as he ascended the local amateur and professional circuit. Following an arduous five-round affair—the only decision victory of his career—for Legacy Fighting Alliance’s Middleweight Title and a devastating knockout win during the second season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWTNCS), the remainder of MMA’s global marketplace has started warming up to the solid 185-pounder known as “Fluffy.” Hernandez is eager to pour gasoline on any and all sparks of interest in his first trip to the UFC’s Octagon against Markus Perez with a nonstop, aggressive offense.
Hernandez is a man of few words, though his fighting style is poetry in motion—one slaughterous stanza after another. In my time working with, and becoming a bigger and bigger fan of, Hernandez—whether during my time with MMAGOLD or NorCal MMA—the few syllables I’m able to squeeze out of him have all been packed with passion and sealed with follow through.
I transcribed my conversation with Hernandez, as can be seen below, and the interview can be viewed and listened to in its entirety on either YouTube or Podbean by clicking the links at the bottom of the page.
First Time Competing Outside of the United States?
“It’s just another fight. I really don’t care. I’m excited to go to Brazil though; I’ll tell you that. I’m not looking forward to the flight time. Kristie [Hernandez’s wife] did the math, and she said it was like twenty-four hours of flying, or something like that with layovers. So I’m not looking forward to that, but it’s money, it’s time to fight, and I’m ready.”
Teammate Max “Pain” Griffin on the Same Card?
“Last time we fought together was on a West Coast card; that was forever ago. I was an amateur still, so it’s been awhile. It’s fuckin’ dope, and we get to be on TV now, get paid way better. Fuck, back in the day, we didn’t get paid. It’s fuckin’ exciting.”
Breaking Down Markus Perez
“Perez is kind of a karate dude, good on the ground. He’s kind of a spazz when he strikes. He’s more karate based with lots of kicks. He doesn’t have the best hands, but he’ll throw some spinning elbows on the inside. I think with him, I’m just going to have to pick my shots smart, figure him out real quick. He does like to stand and bang, but if he gets desperate, he’ll drop on heel hooks and shit. [His] Takedowns aren’t the greatest; he’s more Jiu-Jitsu, of course, not wrestling based. I’m excited for it man. I think it’s going to be a stand and trade fight—for sure, which is great for me. I’m hoping for another knockout. He’s the type of dude you hit who gets fired up like me and starts talking shit, so I think that’s great for both of us. I’ve never really talked shit during a fight, but if it gets to a point where a mother fucker wants to throw down and stand in the middle and trade, I’m all for it. Fight of the Night sounds good to me; a bonus!”
“He [Raphael] doesn’t like me fighting, but he does like going on airplanes. He’s been asking me, ‘Daddy, I want to go on an airplane; Daddy, I want to go on an airplane,’ so he was trying to go with me to my fight, but I said, ‘Hell no, not to Brazil.’ Fuck all that. Afterwards, I’ll plan a little trip, and we’ll take him on an airplane again. Being a parent, you always want to provide more for your kids than you had growing up. Right now, we’re living in a trailer, and that’s not where I want to be. For me, it’s like: get out of a trailer, get a house going, rank top 10, start making real money; that way, they’re all taken care of, and that way I can chill with them more.”
Building Hernandez Manor From Scratch
“After this fight [DWTNCS], I took a month off after getting suspended; everything happens for a reason. So I took a month off and cut down a fuck load of trees, put gravel in, so I have somewhere to park my trailer. Then, after this fight, I’ll get water and electricity out there. I’m just starting from scratch so it’s going to be a fun little project, and I get to have these guys [kids] alongside me to help me with it.”
Being Moved From UFC 233 and Sharing A Card With “The Golden Boy”
“It gave me more time to prepare. I actually got sick. I was hella sick, so it worked out perfect for me. It gave me an extra week. My weight’s been fuckin’ money. Training camp has been fantastic. I’ve got no complaints.”
“We used to fight at Nor Cal Somethin’—I don’t remember the name of it—as amateurs back in the day. We were both like eighteen, little youngsters, but yeah, we fought a few times together.”
Adding Some Love to His Life
“It’s actually kind of fucked up because I got stuck with all four kids last night, and they [Hernandez’s wife and possible future girlfriend] went clubbing. We aren’t rushing anything. Just like a regular girlfriend, you don’t rush it. We’re in the process right now. Kristie and her went out last night, and we’re going to keep going. People always think I’m fucking around, but why would I be kidding about that.”
Isn’t Another Girlfriend A Lot of Extra Work?
“High risk, high reward, you know? I’ve had a few chicks hit me up, but it’s borderline disrespectful that you’re even hitting me up because I would never fuck with you. It’s been fun; it’s been a fun little process.”
Any Tips for Others In Search of More Love?
“Be faithful. Talk to your wife. Figure shit out. And if she’s not the one—cheat. Have a ride-or-die, I guess.”
Check out the entire interview below:
Podbean (audio version)