Leonard Garcia (15–9–1) is not new to the whole short notice fight situation. Back at UFC Fight Night 24 Garcia was expected to take on Nam Phan in a rematch, however Phan pulled out due to injury and Garcia ended up losing to Chan Sung Jung. This time around, Garcia’s original opponent Cody McKenzie was forced out of their UFC 155 bout with only two weeks to go and replaced by Max Holloway (6–1).
The “Bad Boy” is in a must-win scenario, as he is riding a three fight losing streak. He spoke with MMASucka Radio about his feelings on the fight and how he has changed up his camp to bring home the “W”.
“I feel like I’m in a must-win, not just for the UFC but for myself. If you’re not winning, you don’t want to be there. I don’t want to be a losing fighter. I want to be where I’m chasing a belt or doing something and if I don’t get my crap together and keep just trying to be an exciting guy, that’s what killed me before. I was training to be exciting. I wasn’t game planning, I was just going out there and killing the pads, and just rambling. I wasn’t doing the classes, I wasn’t learning the techniques. I was just coming in… you know the hour of rolling and sparring and pads that’s what we’d do, that consisted of my workout. And it turned around for me a lot and I’ve been going to all of the jiu-jitsu classes, all the wrestling classes, I’ve been doing all the kick-boxing stuff. So definitely this is do-or-die for me. I have to really, really, really make a statement this fight and I was hoping McKenzie would be the guy to be in front of me, you know that’s what we prepared for, but it doesn’t matter, I don’t care. Whoever is there, is who is gonna get it.”
Sometimes when fighters are in must-win situations, they tend to put on what many call “boring” fights; they fight to win and not for excitement. One thing is for sure when Garcia enters the cage there is sure to be fireworks, but will that change in this fight due to the fact that he needs the win?
“A hundred percent, hell no! I’m coming in to fight. At the end of the day, that’s what this sport is, it’s a fight! If I’m gonna go try to be conservative or do something something like that, I might as well go and find a desk job or something that takes conservation; because fighting is not a sport where ‘conservative’ is gonna win you anything. At least not for me. I hate boring fighters, I hate watching boring fights, I’m geared a certain way- and that’s to go a hundred and ten miles per hour. It’s gonna change a little bit, I’m gonna try to be a little smarter, I’m not gonna be as reckless, but I’m still going to go face to face. I’m still gonna be in the guy’s face. Will I drop my hands and let the other guy hit me? Maybe. I don’t know. Sometimes I get a little out-of-hand out there. It doesn’t matter to me, I’m always gonna push the pace; no matter where it’s at, that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Garcia is coming into this bout against Holloway a different fighter. With all of his training coming together as planned, the Greg Jackson fighter will look to end his year with a bang and get the big win over the 21-year-old Hawaiian.
(Photo courtesy of Sherdog.com)