Alexander Hernandez and the Lightweight Trap
By James Lee
Like has been the case on countless occasions, the UFC’s lightweight division can quickly hype fighters to the very top of the sport and drop them in an instant, providing adaptation time.
There is no better example of that in recent memory than Alexander Hernandez. The fighter who was suddenly thrust into the limelight as a possible mainstay for the next decade to come, only to become a fighter that wins as many as he loses, with termination gradually plausible as each fight progresses.
As the 155 lbs division has grown to be the promotion’s most advanced, that has come with an unwelcome expectation to those accompanying it. Simply, its congested nature means winning against some of the sport’s most skilled can receive little recognition, whereas losing can call into question their promotional standing.
As a result, consecutive success guarantees little, and the division’s unforgiving nature means those at the top have combined to maintain a pact, which does not bode well for anybody outside of that.
For Hernandez, he was once on the cusp of becoming a member of that pact after being matched up with Donald Cerrone, but now, a way back seems largely unattainable.
It is possible that Hernandez might resurrect his once championship ambitions due to his age, as well as his earlier success continually blossoming with time. For example, his forty-two second knockout of veteran Beneil Dariush in his promotional debut has become heightened, as his fellow American has since climbed to the number three spot in the lightweight rankings, having recently beaten Tony Ferguson, Carlos Diego Ferriera, and Thiago Moises.
Likewise, his decision win over Francisco Trinaldo, albeit controversial, carries importance considering the longevity of the Brazilian. His victories over Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Chris Gruetzemacher are also significant considering the pair’s respective successes.
Hernandez will be eager to add another UFC victory to his record this Saturday when he faces newcomer Mike Breeden, despite his counterpart not holding mainstream recognition in the sport yet.
Nevertheless, this moment is a vital crossroads in the career of Alexander Hernandez. A win could fuel a second charge towards the distinguished pact. A further loss, however, will dramatically emphasise the changing state of affairs for the Texan since he was tasked with opening the UFC and ESPN partnership nearly three years ago.