Fernando Padilla Talks ‘Luffy’ Hat Importance After UFC on ESPN 53 Victory

Fernando Padilla’s straw hat isn’t just fashion. It’s a symbol. During his UFC on ESPN 53 walkout, that hat marked a new era in his life. It’s about stepping up, taking on more, according to the featherweight from Mexico.

Oh, and after the fight? He still had the hat on. Turns out, it’s a nod to a character from an anime. Specifically, Monkey D. Luffy from “One Piece.” You know, the “Straw Hat” Luffy, captain of the Straw Hat Pirates.

Padilla’s been with Team Oyama in Irvine, California, for a good while. Eight years, to be exact. And in that gym, he’s become something of a role model. With Coach Colin Oyama’s guidance, he’s embracing leadership, aiming to inspire by action.

Post-fight, Padilla shared with the media, “I’ve been at Team Oyama the longest. Seen folks come and go. And yeah, they look up to me.” He added that the hat symbolizes his commitment to lead, not just by words, but by being there, day in, day out, pushing everyone forward.

“I’m not just a teammate,” he said. “I’m a leader. That hat? It’s me saying I’m here to work hard, to hustle, to motivate. If I’m not sweating it out with you, don’t listen to me.”

But there’s a softer side to Padilla, too. He loves anime. “One Piece” got him hooked at 11. He stumbled upon it on Helsinko channel in Mexico, sandwiched between “Dragon Ball Z” and “Malcolm in the Middle.” When the show ended, he dove into the manga. And just like that, an anime geek was born.

Padilla’s love for “One Piece” is more than just fandom. It’s a part of who he is, both in and out of the ring. And that straw hat? It’s not just an accessory. It’s a statement.

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