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Son’s birth during pandemic is motivation for Hunter Azure ahead of May 13 UFC fight

Hunter Azure speaks with MyMMANews

Hunter Azure is fighting for more than usual ahead of his featherweight bout at the May 13 UFC event. 

In his case, someone more. Azure and his girlfriend, Sage Pearce, recently had their first child on April 10. His son Wilder was born about a month before his scheduled clash with fellow bantamweight Brian Kelleher in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Once he was born and brought him home, that changed a lot,” Azure said. 

“After meeting him and taking care of him, I want to give him the best life. It motivates me to get out there and train, work my butt off, but enjoy it too.”

Azure was originally scheduled to fight a week after his son was born at UFC 249 on April 18. The event was eventually postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With no fight scheduled, the 28-year-old used his time wisely. Following an eight-week fight camp, Azure took a week off from training to be with his girlfriend and son. 

“I was able to just recover my body correctly and hang out with the son,” Azure said. “It was great to let my mind settle and my body heal, then just get right back to it. It was just great timing to get back on this card.”

Waiting in the wings

After a seven-month layoff, Azure is itching to get back inside the octagon. He returned right back to training after spending a week away.

The undefeated bantamweight made his UFC debut back in September 2019, defeating Brad Katona at UFC on ESPN+ 16. The victory marked his fifth bout in the span of a year, which included a unanimous decision against Chris Ocon on Dana White’s Contender Series on July 9, 2019.

“It was frustrating coming off that debut, I was ready to go and that was in September, then just waiting and waiting,” Azure said. “It messed with my mind a little bit, but my coaches just kept me clear minded. 

“I was able to just just focus on myself and what I needed to work on.”

In a time filled with uncertainty and negativity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Azure has his reasons for staying positive.

Not only was his son born, but Azure is returning to work on May 13. Azure returns to featherweight for the first time since fighting his first three professional bouts at 145 lbs. 

His approach to this camp is far from normal. He trained eight weeks, took a week off and returned to training, all while facing limitations due to the pandemic.

Azure is happy fight week is finally here.

“It was feeling strange, but now it’s fight week, everything just feels normal. My body is ready to go. It’s crazy, once you get close, your body just knows. It wants to eat healthy, it is recovering,” Azure said. “I am just excited I guess.”

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