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Anthony Hernandez says pandemic benefitted his camp: ‘Less injuries’ training like this

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Anthony Hernandez spoke to Bloody Elbow about how he prepared for his fight during unprecedented times.

UFC Fight Night: Park v Hernandez Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

As the world faces a pandemic, Anthony Hernandez (7-1) readies himself for a UFC middleweight fight against fellow Contender Series prospect Kevin Holland (16-5) this weekend. Despite the chaos of the novel coronavirus going on around him, Hernandez found that the differences with his training ahead of the fight have been entirely positive.

“Obviously big gyms have shut down,” Hernandez told Bloody Elbow. “They’ve been opening up for me and there’s been private training for me. Pretty much I’ve just been getting a lot more one-on-one time and I’m actually excited to see how that plays out.”

Hernandez regularly spends his time training in California between MMA Gold Fight Team, Marinoble’s Martial Arts, and Alvarez Boxing Club. This time around he also spent time at Urijah Faber’s Ultimate Fitness. Since this is his first camp with no injuries, the 26-year-old prospect may look to change his fight preparation in the future.

“If it works out well,” he continued. “I’m probably gonna stick to that routine for training because there’s less injuries for me. So I’m f—king digging it. I’ve still been getting the bodies and the work, and I’m f—king happy with it honestly.”

“Aspen [Ladd] is in the gym all the time so I’ve been grappling with her. Max [Griffin] just came back, Michael Malott has been giving me some great looks, he’s from Canada, and he’s a fu—ing brown belt in jiu jitsu, good striker. I’ve pretty much had some really good people in my corner this camp.”

Between himself and Holland, Hernandez anticipates an exciting fight with his opponent that fans will be able to enjoy from home.

“He’s a long lanky guy,” he explained. “So I definitely need to get inside on this guy, I noticed he doesn’t have a gas tank on him so my plan is to pressure him until he breaks. I have to be aware of his jiu jitsu game and I can’t let him be on the outside for too long. He does have some dangerous features that I have to be aware of.”

When it comes to navigating the scene in Jacksonville, Hernandez has no concerns with the health and safety protocols that the UFC intends to abide by. He has a new addition to his corner to help keep him at ease and a good network of people supporting him during fight week. For the first time, his wife will be one of his “cornermen,” since it’s the only way she can attend his fight due to the limitations on camps, and no live audience.

“She’s actually going to be in my corner now because of the whole f—king chaos shit,” Hernandez said. “Or she can’t be there. She makes me feel comfortable and calm. So I’m taking her with me.”

“I’ll have Brian [Alvarez], I’ve been working with him, he’s been more than kind enough to open his gym everyday for me and work boxing bits and stuff. Then Jim West, as always my head coach, is gonna be in my corner, and then my wife.”

With a lot of uncertainty surrounding events as they go on during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hernandez has no concerns about what may come to pass before the event. His focus is on getting himself in the octagon on Saturday night. Once he gets there, he also has no concerns about the lack of people in the arena.

“It’s kinda like the contender series again,” Hernandez explained. “It’s just gonna be like a regular ass fight. For me a fight is a fight so whether there’s a crowd or not it’s cool. In Brazil they weren’t friendly so I don’t give a f—k about the crowd. It’s just like, show up, do my job, and hopefully people are pleased or happy with the show that went on. That’s how I look at it. There’s going to be people watching from home so it’ll be cool.”