Weight: 185 pounds
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Anthony Hernandez’s roots are triangulated amid the rural Northern California cities: Woodland, Esparta, and Dunnigan. Though he has no intention of ditching the open spaces, Hernandez envisions, as a professional mixed martial artist, his name featured on the marquees of stadiums, fighting on the world’s grandest stages for bountiful prizes in the most dangerous fields of play. Otherwise known as ‘Fluffy,’ Hernandez packs granite in his fists and cuts the hardest angles with footwork charged like lightning. The plan, training with Marinoble’s Martial Arts, Carnage Fight Team, and MMAGOLD, is: continue molding an unbreakable middleweight.
Easy-going and, for the most part, avoided physical confrontation while growing up, Hernandez discovered, in his mid-teens, a euphoric pleasure in a melee of haymakers when he and his friends logged an unknown number of rounds, with minimal rules, as the only bells were tied around the necks of roaming cows,
“When I was about fifteen years old, me and my buddies were bored as fuck; a bunch of rednecks who put on gloves and beat the shit out of each other.” If you attempted to clarify what sort of guidelines the teenagers operated from, Hernandez’s face would crinkle in search of clarity, “We used to knee each other to the head on the ground or hit each other with elbows.” Arguably, the idle hands of these teens could have been more constructive, but, from Hernandez’s vantage, it was all in fun, “We didn’t care; it was a blast.”
Before long, Hernandez’s father acted as a sanctioning body and ended the barnburners, ruling: Nobody involved in these backyard brawls was of sound mind. Hernandez recalled his father saying things like,
“You guys are going to get fucking hurt,” or “You guys are fucking idiots.”
It was clear how Hernandez’s adolescent energy needed to be harnessed, so he was enlisted into the nearest gym, an MMA gym his cousin endorsed,
“My cousin told me he was doing this MMA thing out in Woodland, and he said I should come try it. I tried it, fell in love with it, and took a fight about four months in.”
Hooked as a teen and reeled into Hernandez’s current lot in the sport, all the fun is set aside when the cage door clicks shut. Silky smooth skin turns to cobblestone when Hernandez’s competitive mindset bubbles to the surface,
“It’s kill or be killed, and this motherfucker is trying to crush my dreams.” Hernandez continued, sharing what goal another 185-pound human stands between, “My big dream is to get enough money and a house, so my Dad can quit working. My Dad supported me my whole life, and I want to give back to him. So I don’t want anyone crushing my dreams of having my Dad not have to work. That’s where I get all fired up from and try to finish people.”
In the same breath Hernandez chills your exterior with violence, he warms your interior with the ‘tale of the tape’ that makes him tick: fatherhood, family, animals, training kids, caloric intake, tattoos, and mullets.
“My personality is pretty chill: If you like me, great; if you don’t, fuck off. I love animals; people connect to me on that. People connect with me on tattoos because I will just get funny shit because I think it’s hilarious, like I got a squirrel tattooed on my thigh because I though it was funny. I’m pretty likable.”
When Hernandez mentioned his love of animals, it’s actually better aligned with an obsession; in fact, the students he trains on the weekends, before transforming into beasts on the mat, take advantage of and enjoyment in Hernandez’s makeshift petting zoo. Once the rights and lefts of the youngsters stop landing flush atop the heads of the goats, chickens, pigs, cats, dogs, and anything else furry or feathery, Hernandez and his students enter a two-car garage that has become a martial incubator for those who seek his guidance. The lesson plans Hernandez scripts each week mirror the techniques he’s sharpening in one of the three gyms hosting his practice sessions,
“The stuff I teach my students is the same shit I do with people at either Urban Sprawl Fitness [with MMAGOLD], Carnage [Fight Team], or Marinoble’s [Martial Arts]. When I’m training for my fights, it’s the same thing I’m showing my kids and breaking down. Then, when they watch me fight, they go, ‘Oh, that all looks familiar.’ That way they see it in action, and it’s been successful so far.”
Some may deduce, with the information presented to this point, the fight name: ‘Fluffy’ is related to Hernandez’s fun-loving nature or softness toward animals and kids. Truth is: ‘Fluffy’ originated from his struggle to remain near his middleweight silhouette when a fight isn’t on the horizon. Although an inability to push away plates of home cooking may be perceived as a weakness, self-discipline is what has transported Hernandez through twelve fights as an amateur, going 11-1, and remaining untouchable as a pro. The moment the ink dries on the dotted line, ‘Fluffy’ hardens.
Since leaping into MMA, Hernandez has set his sights beyond merely dominating the regional scene; ‘Fluffy’ fancies a foothold amongst the champions who litter the globe:
“Growing up, every time I put my mind to something, I do fantastic at it. I think I’ve really put my mind to MMA and, so far, have been successful.” Hernandez hits fight fans with the blunt force of his reality as an up-and-comer in the most grueling sport, “If I didn’t think I could make it to the top, I wouldn’t be doing this shit. I mean, I think I can be the best in the world.”