The Party’s Over: One-On-One With George Hernandez

Team Hurricane Awesome with George Hernandez after first round win, photograph courtesy of Lance Emery Photography
Team Hurricane Awesome with George Hernandez after first round win, photograph courtesy of Lance Emery Photography

We’ve already established that San Diego is a hub for fighters, trainers, and gyms. You know what else we have a lot of here? Bars. Lots and lots of bars. House parties too. In fact, San Diego is party central. Be honest, as you’re reading this right now you’re reminiscing about some of your favorite memories from Pacific Beach or Downtown. There’s no shame in that.

San Diego-based MMA fighter George Hernandez (2-0) was no stranger to partying. He could hang with the best of them and then shake off the hangover and go train. But there came a point in time where he came to that proverbial fork in the road and had to make a decision: partying or fighting.

“[W]hen all of this bad stuff was holding me back I basically said, ‘You know what pick one or the other…do you want to be known as the best partyer in the world, or the best fighter in the world,’” Hernandez said.

Hernandez, originally from the Santa Rosa area of Northern California, started off training kickboxing in San Diego at City Boxing. He eventually moved to Und1sputed where he eventually made the fight team. Hernandez started as an amateur, earned a 6-3 record and won the XAFS 155lb title before making the move to professional fighter. Since then, he has improved his all-around game and sparked a promising career under Coach Manolo Hernandez.

George Hernandez in the Octagon. Hat tip to Lance Emery for the pictures.
George Hernandez in the Octagon. Hat tip to Lance Emery for the pictures.

“Man, I went through hell to make that team. It was crazy what we went through. Like 200 burpees, 200 pushups, squats, carry someone on your back, and then we went into the cage and fought all out. It ended up being me and like 2 other people out of the 35 that started the program,” Hernandez said.

However, Hernandez’ fighting career was placed on hold due to a series of injuries and personal problems; one of the largest being his love of partying.

Hernandez noticed that his training suffered when he would go out and live it up. “I would go drinking on a Saturday for example and then Monday came around and my training was half-ass,” Hernandez explained.

For Hernandez, his love of fighting won out over his love for partying. Hernandez’ friends would constantly remind him that he had the talent, but he just needed to commit to maximizing it.

George credits San Diego Combat Academy Head Trainer Manolo Hernandez with driving home that point. George and Manolo knew each other previously from their time at Und1sputed and George said Manolo welcomed him with open arms to SDCA. “He told me, ‘You gotta do the time and start taking care of yourself if you want to do this,’” Hernandez said.

Hernandez executing ground and pound tactics. Photographs by Lance Emery.
Hernandez executing ground and pound tactics. Photographs by Lance Emery.

George followed that advice, began training smarter, and greatly improved his conditioning. Additionally, he began experimenting with MMA psychology. “[I]t has taught me is to accept some of the fear and nerves that come with a fight and use them to control the fight in your favor.”

Manolo, who also taught George to slow things down and not try and put on a show, has seen tremendous improvement in the way that George trains and fights. “George Hernandez should be called ‘The Professional’. He executes the game plan effortlessly,” Manolo elaborated.

George now sports a perfect 2-0 professional record and will be looking to make it 3-0 on August 23, 2014 at Xplode Fight Series: Tidal Wave. Be sure to catch George and his SDCA teammates, along with other top local talent, in what promises to be a great event. We’d like to give a big thank you to Lance Emery Photography for providing us with the pictures for this story.

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