ABU DHABI – Juan Espino beat Jeff Hughes with a first-round submission Saturday on the preliminary card at UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi.
Take a look inside the fight with Espino, who returned after nearly two years away for his eighth straight win.
Espino on the fight’s key moment
“It’s hard in Spain. We had four months closed in the house. Two of three times, we could go to the supermarket. It’s very, very hard only training in my room – it’s not easy. I believe I have a strong mind. Every day, I looked at fights, look at a possible combo that I repeat in my mind – that’s it.”
THE SQUEEZE! 🐍
🇪🇸 @Juan_Espino_ofi with the TIGHT RD 1 sub.[ #UFC253 | #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi ] pic.twitter.com/2X09Ihqzwb
— UFC (@ufc) September 26, 2020
Espino on using his ground skills
“I’m happy. It’s been a long time outside of the cage. But every day, I never lost motivation. I focused in my training. I’m back. It’s a free option – I’m a world champion in grappling. It’s my first natural move – a submission. All my life, I’ve been grappling, all my life wrestling – it’s my instinct. I practice my boxing, I practice my kickboxing, I practice everything. But when I go inside and feel good with my wrestling and grappling, I go.”
Espino on what he wants next
“My dream is come to the UFC, fight the first time, maybe lose. I’m still happy. But to come back to the UFC, I feel very good in my first fight. I go to my second fight, I win – what is the best? I’m ready for everybody. I spar with super tough guys in the division. Why not fight with the top 15? Augusto Sakai, Alistair Overeem, Derrick Lewis – I feel good, I go. It doesn’t matter. I feel for this year, I’m ready for one, two, three more fights. I don’t have an injury. Give me another one.”
To hear more from Espino, check out the video of the full post-fight interview above.