You wouldn’t know it by his looking at his Twitter or Instagram feeds, but there was a time when Jeff Molina didn’t see the value of flexing his thumbs and snapping pictures of his daily activities.

“I didn’t want to be that guy that is posting my egg whites every morning, posting every time I’m in the gym because I’m in the gym two, three times a day,” the emerging flyweight said with a laugh. “But Jason High used to get on me hard and I understand it now.”

In addition to being a must-follow and engaging presence on various social media platforms, the 24-year-old Glory MMA & Fitness representative is one of the top young talents in the UFC at the moment, having gone 2-0 in his 2021 rookie campaign after graduating to the biggest stage in the sport with a victory on Dana White’s Contender Series in the summer of 2020.

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Molina’s debut was originally expected to take place before the end of 2020, but was pushed to January 2021 when his opponent tested positive for COVID-19. A couple days before he was slated to fly out to Abu Dhabi to face Zarrukh Adashev in January, Molina’s test came back positive, delaying his debut until April, where he took on Aoriqileng in a spirited clash at UFC 261 where he earned a victory and an additional $50,000 for Fight of the Night.

“I was feeling the momentum (after Contender Series) and looking to ride that momentum, and then to not fight for eight months after my Contender Series fight sucked,” Molina began, reflecting on the past year and change, speaking in the same quick pace he deploys inside the cage. “It was a bummer, but if there was one thing I learned this year, it was to trust the process.

“I didn’t get to fight in November, I didn’t get to fight in Abu Dhabi, but instead, I got to fight on the first card in front of 15,000 people in Jacksonville and get a Fight of the Night bonus.

“It wasn’t the type of fight I wanted — I thought my performance was awful that night — but there were positive takeaways,” added the engaging flyweight. “It says he’s five-foot-seven, but that’s a lie, dude. I’m five-foot-seven — five-nine on Tinder — and that dude is not five-seven; he is five-foot-12. He’s huge. He’s tall for the division, lanky for the division, and I had to figure him out. I was having a hard time finding him.”

Neither fighter looked comfortable in the first round, which was understandable given that it was the first time each had crossed the threshold into the UFC Octagon. But both Molina and Aoriqileng settled in after the opening five minutes, with “El Jefe” drawing even on the scorecards by sitting down his Chinese adversary a couple times in the middle stanza.

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