Fighters fight injured; it is just part of MMA, unfortunately. Still, UFC flyweight Jeff Molina fought through some nasty injuries last time out.
Molina is coming off his second win in the UFC, which saw him finish Daniel Da Silva in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Costa vs. Vettori. The 24-year-old looked very impressive, and it might have been his best performance to date. Surprisingly, what makes the win even more impressive is the fact that Molina was fighting through a very bad ankle injury that happened two weeks prior.
“Man! Two weeks before the fight, I was flying out to corner Tim Elliott for his fight, and on my way to the airport, I totaled my car. I still made my flight though, still made my flight. I got to Vegas, and granted, I’m fighting two weeks later, so I’m not going super hard. I’m already cutting weight, and I’m rolling with my coach, and then my ankle just snaps,” Molina told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview. “It was a freak injury. I have the video of it, and it’s pretty gnarly— You hear it snap. Yeah, but that wasn’t fun. So, I was dealing with that, and I couldn’t even walk for two weeks before my fight. That was a bummer.”
Molina said he was also dealing with some nagging shoulder injuries, but he got some stem cells in Vegas, and he feels perfect.
“El Jeffe” returns to action on June 4 against his toughest opponent to date, Zhalgas Zhumagulov. Molina likes the match-up and thinks the Kazakh fighter is much better than his UFC record might indicate.
“I love it. He’s game; he’s good. I think his track record in the UFC doesn’t kind of speak to the type of fighter he is. He has some big wins on his resume. He’s beaten [Ali] Bagautinov, Tyson Nam, Tagir Ulanbekov, and I feel like he hasn’t got the shine he had outside the UFC. He’s fought some tough people. That being said, I do think I’m better than him everywhere. And I do best against these types of guys. He’s shorter, stockier, fire hydrant build. They throw big hooks and big overhands. I feel like I fought kind of a lesser version of him on the Contender Series,” Molina said.
Molina believes it is a perfect third fight for him, and predicts that he will finish Zhumagulov.
Watch the rest of our interview with Jeff Molina above. UFC Vegas 56 takes place Saturday, June 4, 2022 at the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.