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Fernando Padilla Discusses Significance of ‘Luffy’ Hat After UFC on ESPN 53 Triumph

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The straw hat worn by Fernando
Padilla during his UFC
on ESPN 53 walkout is a representation of a new chapter with
added responsibilities in his life, according to the Mexican
featherweight.

Padilla dropped Ecuadorian debutant Luis
Pajuelo before submitting him with a standing brabo choke less
than three minutes into their fight on Saturday at the UFC Apex in
Las Vegas. Padilla was seen sporting a straw hat during his walkout
and after the fight, which he later revealed was a tribute to a
fictional anime character. Padilla’s hat resembled that of Monkey
D. Luffy, also known as “Straw Hat” Luffy, a protagonist in the
Japanese manga series “One Piece” and founder and captain of the
“Straw Hat Pirates.”

Much like Luffy, Padilla, who has been a longtime member of the

Team Oyama gym in Irvine, California, is looked up to by his
teammates. Under the guidance of head coach Colin Oyama, Padilla is
ready to take up some leadership responsibilities and plans to lead
by example.

“You know right now in the gym at Team Oyama in Irvine, I’m one of
the guys who’s been there the most, I’ve been there for eight years
already and lot of the people who was there before me, they’ve been
coming and going or just going,” Padilla told assembled media after
the bout (video via MMAjunkie.com). “So I’ll lie to you if I say that a
lot of them don’t like look up to me and coach has been telling me
you know, ‘It’s your time to like make things right and focus on
being not just a teammate. Try to push the other guys.’ And the hat
for me represents that.”

“I need to move not just, I don’t like to say captain, but as a
leader. I try to be in the gym every single day, it’s my gym, it’s
where I spend all the time, I wanna be all the time. I really
believe in hustle and motivate. I don’t wanna talk about training
hard or nothing. If I’m not in the gym and you’re not seeing me
training hard, don’t let me tell you, ‘Hey, you need to train
hard.’ So that is what the hat represent for me. I go there, I go
with the hat too and I go and work hard. I work my ass off, til I
throw up or til I’m crying, but I’m there.”

Padilla further delved into his love for anime, which started with
“One Piece” at the age of 11. Padilla moved on to reading the manga
when the show ended and there was no looking back.

“I have been watching it since I was like 11 years old,” he said.
“In Mexico there’s this channel named Helsinko, and I remember they
passing ‘One Piece’ for the first time in Spanish and I just fall
in love with the show, you know. I really liked it, I was like, ‘Oh
damn.’ It was always ‘Dragon Ball Z,’ ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ and
then ‘One Piece’ and I was like, ‘Oh damn, I really like ‘One
Piece.’’ So I start watching it then and I keep watching it in
English a little bit. But the show obviously wasn’t long enough,
but the manga was still going so I started reading the manga and
man, it’s just history from there. I’m a geek when it comes to
anime you know — I watch everything, read everything. And I just
really like it, but ‘One Piece’ stick with me, you know.”

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