The UFC returns to Europe on September 28, with a stellar UFC Fight Night event in Denmark’s capital city of Copenhagen. This event pitches top European MMA talent from the very first fight to the main event.
Sweden’s Jack Hermansson will headline the card against fellow ranked middleweight Jared Cannonier, who recently defeated the legendary Anderson Silva in Brazil. The implications for this bout are huge and will reshape the landscape at 185 pounds.
Kicking off UFC Copenhagen is recent debutant Nohelin Hernandez, who is hungry to grab his first win inside the octagon.
He spoke to The Body Lock’s John Hyon Ko about his upcoming fight, why he started training at Tiger Muay Thai, and Henry Cejudo.
Making the move to Tiger Muay Thai
This year has been a thrilling year for mixed martial arts. Spectators have witnessed some of the very best finishes, fights, and events the UFC has ever had in its entire 26-year history. An event that sticks out when talking about the year so far is UFC 239. On that night, Jon Jones defended his title against a one-legged Thiago Santos, Amanda Nunes ‘Holly-Holmed’ Holly Holm, and Jorge Masvidal broke the record for the fastest knockout in the promotion’s history.
Making his debut on the card was California’s Nohelin Hernandez (9-3), a tough, well-rounded young bantamweight ready to announce his arrival in the big league. The 25-year-old filled in on just days notice to take on Marlon Vera—a 12-fight UFC veteran who was riding a three-fight win streak.
Despite ultimately being submitted in the second round, Hernandez earned the respect of thousands by not only taking the fight but giving Vera a run for his money.
“It was a good fight,” Hernandez said to John Hyon Ko.
“In the first round [he] had me in some bad positions. He had my back and had me in an arm press position. Once that happened I was able to escape, reverse it and do some damage. And I [thought] that won the round, and it did. I saw the judges scorecards and I had won the round.”
“Suave” spoke on what to lead to the defeat and the mistake he made in the second round.
“In the second he caught me with a body shot that hurt me. I took a bad shot, that’s all it was. I made a little mistake, which was a desperate shot [for a takedown]. Daniel Cormier talks about taking bad shots and how you don’t take bad shots when you are hurt because things don’t end up well.”
For his upcoming fight on September 28, Hernandez decided to pack his bags and fly to Thailand in order to train in the well established Tiger Muay Thai gym, which is currently home to many fellow UFC competitors.
He explained why he made the choice to leave the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) and travel overseas to enhance his MMA training.
“I’m at a point in my career where I’m not training for anything specific, I’m just training everything. I’m just trying to be as well rounded as possible [by] training my jiu-jitsu, wrestling, my standup. Everything. I don’t ever work one particular thing more than the other, everything is just well rounded.
“I feel like I just get more attention here. I get more things provided to me here – I have everything in one spot. I don’t have to hop from sparring, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu at AKA to strength and conditioning at another gym.”
Moving overseas can be a daunting experience, and Hernandez revealed that he was considering canceling his flight to Thailand to instead complete his fight camp in the United States like he usually does.
“I had a flight booked before I knew that the fight was gonna happen.”
“Before the fight got offered to me I wasn’t even gonna come to Thailand. I was just gonna save myself some money to stay in the States, take care of a few financial things and whatever. Then I heard of the fight and was like, f*ck man, maybe I should keep the flight and have my camp in Phuket at Tiger Muay Thai. And so things just kind of fell into place.”
There’s “more pressure” on Jack Shore
Also competing at UFC Copenhagen on September 28 is Khalil Rountree Jr, a dangerous light heavyweight striker who is soaring through the ranks. Rountree also trains out of Tiger Muay Thai and is one of many people who have helped Hernandez prepare for his upcoming bout.
A name that has had a profound impact on the 25-year-old’s training camp is George Hickman – one of the most knowledgable and experienced coaches in the game.
“Who I’d really like to give a thank you to is George Hickman because since the beginning, he’s welcomed me in and he’s been helping me out. He’s been setting up my schedule for training and stuff, and he’s willing to go the extra mile to help me, and I really appreciate that. Again, just because I don’t really get that at home.”
On September 28, Nohelin Hernandez will be welcoming Jack Shore to the UFC’s Octagon. Shore has amassed an undefeated professional record of 11 wins, 10 coming via finish. He is one of the brightest prospects to ever come out of Europe and was the bantamweight champion in Cage Warriors.
Although he lost his UFC debut, Hernandez believes that there is more pressure on his opponent coming into their fight, and touches on the areas he believes Shore excels in.
“There’s more pressure on him than me,” Hernandez said. “He’s 11-0 [and] seems to be well rounded. I think his biggest asset is grappling [and] his jiu-jitsu: he has good pressure from the top and good knowledge of positions.”
Steven specialises in MMA and Lethwei. He loves a good 1-2 down the middle.