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“I think the difference is, even if I were to go out there and grapple for 15 minutes, it won’t be boring,” Molina said. “I’m trying to hurt you. I’m trying to rearrange your face, I’m trying to move your eyebrows. One word to describe my fighting style would be ‘violent.’ So even if I’m pushing you against the fence for 15 minutes, I’m working you. I’m throwing knees and elbows everywhere, and it’s just constantly looking to do damage. If I’m on my back, I don’t plan on staying there for long, but I’m making sure I’m elbowing you from bottom. I’m pushing your face away, and it’s not pretty. I want to be known as the violent guy who’s always looking for the finish, no matter if I’m on top, riding your back for 15 minutes. I want people to know I’m dangerous everywhere and not just for striking, but submissions and wrestling.”

Over 20 years in this business and I never heard anyone talk about moving someone’s eyebrows.

We both laugh. 

“That’s what the game is, right?” said Molina. “I’m trying to open an Xbox logo on your forehead and he’s trying to do the same to me. You’re trying to knock me out in front of my mom, and I’m trying to do the same to you.”

Yeah, the kid can fight, and he’s got the backstory and personality to transcend fight night and become a star in the sport. But first things first, and that’s Aoriqileng on Saturday night. It’s the start of a new journey for Molina, one that he hopes will not only serve as a boost for his own life, but for his family as well, especially his dad, Medardo, who recently underwent a pair of five-hour surgeries for kidney cancer.

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It’s been a difficult time for the Molinas, but Jonathan has set up a GoFundMe page for their dad (https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-medardo-fight-cancer), and seeing Jeff begin to chase his dream of UFC glory is an uplifting moment for the entire family.

“They’ve always been super supportive, cheering me on cageside and supporting my dream,” said Jeff. “There’s so many sacrifices you have to make in this – I haven’t had a serious relationship with a girl since high school, and not many people understand what it takes to do this. This is my life, this is all I know. But what kills me is he really wants to be there for my debut. In the surgery, they targeted the tumor and luckily everything went as well as it could. It’s tough to be in the situation because my parents came to this country about 30 years ago and they busted their ass for the last 30 years working s**tty jobs, factory jobs, jobs as a maid, just to provide for me and my brother. And it sucks to see the stress financially of this happening. But I feel like I can relieve some stress from getting financial freedom from being successful in this sport.”

If you wanted to know why Jeff Molina fights so hard, now you know. 


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