Leonard Garcia (15-11-1 MMA, 2-7 UFC) knew what was at stake when he stepped into the octagon at UFC 159 against Cody McKenzie. After losing 4 consecutive fights, Garcia knew that his job would be on the line if he did not prove victorious.
Unfortunately for “Bad Boy”, things just didn’t go his way at UFC 159 in New Jersey, as he lost his 5th fight in a row via unanimous judges decision.
Here is what Garcia told MMAFighting.com regarding his decision loss to McKenzie:
“That was the worst possible thing that could’ve happened. It was one of those things where, the best way to explain it, I felt like I had a flat tire. I felt like I couldn’t get going. I never found any kind of stride, everything was forced. I felt like I was searching for everything. It was like I had an adrenaline dump or something. I don’t know. From the minute where he first started, it felt like everything was in slow motion. I could see everything he was doing before he could do it, but I just couldn’t stop it, almost like a bad dream where you’re punching somebody as hard as you can but they don’t feel it.”
Garcia was officially cut from the UFC roster on Wednesday, just two weeks after his performance at UFC 159. No one who follows the sport was all that surprised, least of all Garcia. Leonard had a few lingering injuries prior to the fight, a broken toe and a broken knuckle among them, but “Bad Boy” won’t blame his release on anything but his poor performance.
“It was one of those decisions that I kind of helped make for them, I put so much pressure on myself. I made it so this was a fight I had to win. I had to go out and do this, and thinking about that before the fight, that’s something I never do. I just told [UFC officials], ‘Man, this is something I probably need right now. I need a good reality check. I need something to where I don’t come in and have these nights anymore.'”
The now 33-year-old, Garcia, considers himself to have a few good years left in him and is ready to make some significant changes in his life.
“I need to go back to a small show and realize how good I had it, and really, really want it. That’s something I think I had lost, because now I have it. Now I’m looking for fights. Now I’m calling different people to train. I’m going to go out to Team Alpha Male for a little while. My cousin Duane Ludwig is out there, and I talked it over with Greg (Jackson). Greg said, ‘Yeah, the problem is guys that can take you down and hold you down.’ And now I’m going to go to a whole team of guys who are really, really good at that.”
Garcia has been a member of Team Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico for most of his career, but after struggling through the last few years, he considers the move out to California long overdue.
“Just being the new guy in the room is going to help me a lot, because it’s something different. It’s a style I’ve never seen, their style is unfamiliar to me. I don’t know all their tricks like I do at Jackson’s. Like, we know each other so well at Jackson’s, and I think that’s caused me to become flat. I talked it over with both camps and they’re both okay with it. I feel like this is a move that should’ve been a long time ago, but it takes situations like this to make it happen.”
Garcia’s ultimate goal is to return to the UFC, and he isn’t wasting any time in pursuing that goal. “Bad Boy” is targeting a comeback fight in July and is currently fielding offers from different promotions.
“The good offers have come from World Series of Fighting and I believe Bellator made an offer, and I haven’t asked to hear it yet because my intentions are to come back to the UFC. I feel if I go to Bellator, I’ll never come back. That’s one of things where I’m not sure that I’m ready to hear an offer from them.”
Garcia’s hesitance to sign with Bellator is the direct result of the promotion’s current legal battle with former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. However, that isn’t Garcia’s only reason.
“I’ve also read some stories about a champion there that was promised so much money and was forced to fight for less, at the moment those are the stories that I’m hearing, and you can’t fight for a company like that. You just can’t do it. They’ll hold you back. If it’s true, they’ll hold you back. But if it’s not true, if I find out different, then I’ll openly talk to them and see what they can offer.”
Which promotion would you like to see Leonard Garcia land with and who would you like to see him fight first? Let’s hear it Penn Nation!