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After injury delayed his UFC debut, Jake Hadley ready to back up hype

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LAS VEGAS – Jake Hadley’s road to the UFC has had some bumps along the way, but at long last he’s ready for his promotional debut.

Hadley got his shot through Dana White’s Contender Series. But his submission win there this past October was marred by a weight miss. Then, after he was scheduled for his UFC debut in March, he had to pull out with an injury.

“It was very upsetting for me, but I’ve got to look at it as a good thing,” Hadley said at Wednesday’s UFC on ESPN 36 media day. “I feel improved from it, and mentally improved from it. It’s just a little setback, and it’s God’s plan. Everything happens for a reason. (At the time), I was depressed, basically. I was able to train around it and do little things, obviously. … It didn’t push me back too long. It’s nothing major-major, which I’m quite thankful for. I’ve been training for 13-14 years, and I’ve never had a bad injury. This was the first one that put me out for a little while.”

Hadley (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) takes on Allan Nascimento (18-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in a flyweight bout to open the main card in Las Vegas. Nascimento said in his media day interview that he’s not worried about Hadley’s hype.

Hadley said his job is to prove the hype is warranted, but nothing is more important than getting his hand raised.

“Most important is to win,” he said. “As long as you win, everything’s going to keep going forward. Everyone loves a winner. No one likes a loser at the end of the day. All this hype around me, all the people who support me, people are fickle. They jump off the train quite quick, so you’ve got to just make sure you win. Winning’s the most important thing, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

UFC on ESPN 36 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on ESPN2 and streams on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN2/ESPN+.

Check out the full pre-fight interview with Hadley in the video above.

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