June 14, 2024
punahele-soriano-contemplated-retirement-prior-to-ufc-on-espn-57-win:-‘i-felt-so-much-pressure’
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Punahele Soriano contemplated retirement prior to UFC on ESPN 57 win: ‘I felt so much pressure’

Although Punahele Soriano made it look easy on Saturday night, it was everything but an easy road to get to the octagon. Soriano (10-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) had a dominant and successful welterweight debut at UFC on ESPN 57, defeating Baeza (10-4 MMA, 3-4 UFC) in a clean, unanimous decision win. After the fight, Soriano”, — write: mmajunkie.usatoday.com

Although Punahele Soriano made it look easy on Saturday night, it was everything but an easy road to get to the octagon.

Soriano (10-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) had a dominant and successful welterweight debut at UFC on ESPN 57, defeating Baeza (10-4 MMA, 3-4 UFC) in a clean, unanimous decision win. After the fight, Soriano opened up about the struggled he had to deal with in preparation.

“The whole camp, I felt so much pressure,” Soriano told the UFC after the fight. “Every day, I was contemplating whether I could still do this, whether if this is for me and if I could deal with this. Fight week, for whatever reason, I had the ultimate confidence. I was supremely confident, no added pressure and I believed in myself.”

On a two-fight skid and 1-4 in his past five outings, the doubts crept back the day of the fight. Backstage, warming up for his bout, Soriano had to battle those same demons.

“I said this a few times, but I was contemplating retirement backstage and thanks to my man Mike at the (UFC Performance Institute), I just let go of that balloon and started thinking about something I cared about – like my wife and my dogs, anything that I loved,” Soriano said. “(I was) ultimately reminding myself that I love this sport and love what I do.”

In the end, Soriano is happy with the way things turned out. He’s proud of his performance and that he got to show his wrestling skills.

“I thought I was Khabib,” Soriano said. “I thought I had a big afro on my head, and I was going to come out speaking Dagestan or whatever they speak. I wasn’t sure who I was anymore.”

“I felt so much pressure.”

Punahele Soriano (@puna185) contemplated retirement before making his welterweight debut, getting his first win since July 2022 and feels like he has new life in a new division.#UFCLouisville Results, Interviews & More ➡️: https://t.co/gAKitEJGRT

— UFC News (@UFCNews) June 9, 2024

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 57.

Be sure to visit the MMA Junkie Instagram page and YouTube channel to discuss this and more content with fans of mixed martial arts.

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