MMA/UFC

Anthony Hernandez says Mario Lopez spurred on stylish submission win over Roman Lopylov at UFC 298

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Anthony Hernandez
Anthony Hernandez | Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Anthony Hernandez is smiling his way straight to the top.

This past Saturday, Hernandez chalked up another win inside the octagon, submitting Roman Kopylov on the main card opener of UFC 298. The win earned Hernandez the No. 12 spot in the UFC middleweight rankings, and also made “Fluffy” some extra fans when he finished the fight in style, grinning and celebrating while locking in the fight-ending rear-naked choke.

Speaking on The MMA Hour, Hernandez said that the celebration was a spur of the moment thing brought on by recognizing a famous face in the crowd.

“I saw f****** Mario Lopez is there,” Hernandez said on Wednesday’s The MMA Hour. “Cool ass dude. We chit-chat every now and then, and I saw him going crazy. And after I got under his chin, I was like, ‘I got this s***!’ I was just talking to him, basically, and I was going crazy. That s*** was a blast. It was dope to see people in the crowd.

“I do really good around crowds. I’m not the type of guy to talk s*** in interviews, to honestly even do interviews, but when I fight, that’s me. That’s who I am. This is the f****** game of war. I’m going to talk my s*** when we’re fighting because now I can hit you, I try to get in your f****** head. That’s who I am as a person. If you hit me, I’m probably going to talk s*** to you in real life too.”

Hernandez joined the UFC in 2019 following a 40-second win (later overturned to a no-contest after Hernandez failed a drug test for marijuana) on Contender Series, but he struggled early in his UFC tenure, dropping two of his first three bouts. However, since his TKO loss to Kevin Holland at UFC Jacksonville in 2020, “Fluffy” has been perfect, running off five consecutive wins, four by stoppage, with two earning Performance of the Night bonuses. Still only 30 years old, the California native believes that everything is finally coming all together for him as he makes his run to the title.

“As long as we can stay healthy, I think we’re on the right path,” Hernandez said. “I think I can be the best in the world. I thought when I was 25 and came into the UFC [that] I was going to clean up shop. I had a rude awakening and then had to do some adjustments, and then I lost my father and I had to get my head right again, and all kinds of bulls***. Life happens. No excuses. But now I’m back on track and I’m focused and I’m ready to make my run as a man.”

Now ranked, Hernandez is not that far off from a title shot in the suddenly wide open middleweight division. And for his next outing he would like to keep this momentum going with another step up the ladder.

“In a perfect world, May would be dope,” Hernandez said. “I’m healthy right now. I’ve already started training again. The way I see it, Mick [Maynard] and Dana [White] have a plan when I’m ready. Now I’m ready for whenever. I know they have a plan, so if they call me with a name that’s ahead of me, I’m f****** ready. I want to take it. I want to show the world what I’m ready to do. I’m ready to get this f****** belt and change [my] kids’ lives.

“Anyone who is ahead of me,” Hernandez continued when asked about an opponent. “Whoever the f*** is going to get me to the title the fastest way. I will fight anyone. I’ve said this for the longest time and I mean it, I don’t give a f***. I feel like I’ll beat them somehow, and if not, I’ll gas them the f*** out and then strangle them or some s***. [Laughs.]”

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