Image Credit: UFC / YouTube

Alex Hernandez is promising he’s going to make another emphatic statement at UFC Brooklyn when he fights Donald Cerrone. So what could be next for the rising lightweight? If he takes out one of the game’s most popular and experienced fighters?

The 26-year-old Hernandez has been booked for the high stakes and profile fight, after going 2-0 to date in the Octagon. Last March, Hernandez dropped jaws throughout MMA by quickly knocking out Beniel Dariush in his UFC debut. Then this past July, Hernandez worked his way to a decision win over Olivier Aubin-Mercier.

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Well, recently the San Antonio fighter spoke with MMA Junkie.com Radio. Here’s some of what Hernandez had to say about his upcoming fight with Cerrone, and the fact he was initially scheduled to fight Franciso Trinaldo at UFC 233 (which was eventually canceled) (quote via MMA Junkie):

“There’s just forces on my side that are bigger than me,” Hernandez said “I keep saying that (expletive). I’m just a vessel filling in, but I couldn’t be more excited to put an emphatic stamp on ESPN for the UFC and MMA and just completely merking Cerrone. Dude, this is (expletive) huge.”

“Yeah, why the (expletive) me?” Hernandez asked, while discussing the fact he’s been tapped for such a big bout, after just two UFC appearances. “I don’t know. But I’ll take it to the bank.”

Now, first things first, and that’s getting by Cerrone, who has been fighting the best of the best for years now, and is dangerous standing and on the ground. Although “Cowboy” is the betting lines underdog for this fight, in the +160 to +174 range, Cerrone demonstrated in November that he remains a force by submittingMike Perry. So, it would be wise for Hernandez to not look past the rugged vet.

But, what if Hernandez does go out and cruise through Cerrone? Well, the fact that he’s been tapped for this opportunity so early into his UFC run – as he noted – seems to indicate the promotion has big plans for Hernandez. Due to what Cerrone has accomplished during his career, there’s likely no shortage of lightweights who would have eagerly taken the opportunity to welcome him back to the 155 division.

Ultimately, the UFC went with Hernandez, who as it stands right now, is sitting in the #11 ranking for 155. So, if he beats a former title challenger like Cerrone, then a top-five ranked opponent could come next. If Herandez just squeaks by Cerrone, however, then a fight with a top-five ranked contender might not materialize just yet.