Fernie Garcia recently was apart of history. The 26-year-old fought on the first ever Golden Boy MMA fight card in which he fought on the undercard. Ultimately, Garcia impressed enough that when Golden Boy does their next MMA event, Garcia will be fighting on it.
However, before his fight with Golden Boy MMA, Garcia was 4-0 as a professional and was looking to fight in a bigger promotion. That is when Golden Boy reached out and it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. As a prospect, fighting in front of thousands of fans, and fighting on a big card like this was important to Garcia.
“Very important. It just came at the right time. 4-0 is good but with this win I became 5-0 and I have to be a prospect already, five wins, three finishes. I am at Fortis full-time now with coach Sayif Saud and a bunch of UFC guys,” Garcia said to BJPENN.com. “I have to become a prospect somewhere so it was very important to do that on the Golden Boy card with all the exposure. It was just perfect timing, they always say be prepared and be ready for every opportunity. And we were very ready for this test and opportunity so we jumped on it.”
Garcia sure is glad that he took the opportunity. He took on Joe Roye at featherweight, which is not Garcia’s natural weight class. Garcia would get the submission win over Roye in the first round.
While being able to truly fight on a card where fans across the world were watching is crazy to think. For the 26-year-old, he now understands what the atmosphere is like at a true MMA event, not a regional promotion.
“I think it did a really good job of preparing me. I am only 26, in my head, I am not scared of anything, I’m ready for everything. Once I was there and I went to the arena and felt the cage and saw how big the event was and thousands of people showing up it was pretty surreal. It took a hit on me,” Garcia said. “I am kind of glad I went through that early in my career that way next time it is just a piece of cake. Not that it made any changes mentally, it was just shocking how many people were there.”
Once the fight happened, Garcia did not look like a prospect that he is. He showed why he was 4-0 and simply dominated the fight.
Why Garcia was able to have so much success against a veteran in Roye was because of his training at Fortis MMA. Which is where Garcia made the move to in late 2016.
“There is no way I would have been 5-0 and if I hadn’t gone to Fortis. Coach Sayif, when he took me in I was 1-0. He told me I have talent, I had skills to hang with the UFC and Bellator guys but I didn’t have the grind, the mentality, the mental toughness. I had a lot of missing pieces,” he said. “Coach Sayif took a whole year and got me leveled with all these UFC guys. Now I can train with them all day and beat them some rounds, and keep up with them. It has helped me tremendously.
I didn’t think I could have gone somewhere and gotten this much better is such little time. Fortis changed my life. I’m from El Paso and I moved to Frisco to train at Fortis. I moved two blocks away from Fortis, my life is around Fortis. I know that I will get to the UFC from there.”
The goal for Garcia, like for most fighters is to eventually reach the UFC. For his next step, he knows he will be on the next Golden Boy card no matter what. However, no one knows when that is and Garcia wants to fight more often. Meaning, he may have to look elsewhere.
“Honestly, I would love to get on that next Golden Boy card which I am pretty sure I would. If it takes to long or it is put on hold, I don’t know what organization I would like to fight for. Maybe Bellator, maybe a big fight in LFA. Really anything that comes my way,” he said. “Anything that comes my way I will be 100 percent ready for.”
That has to be the mentality of any prospect in MMA. The grind is hard to get to the top and Garcia understand that. His name is as big as it ever has been, thanks to his win on Saturday, and now he wants to capitalize on it.
“I want to take no time off. I’m 26, I am not old but I’m not young either,” he said. “I am 26-years-old and I definitely want to keep pushing. I don’t think I have time to be taking off. I’m not even going to take a week off and I am going to be at the gym tomorrow and seeing what is next. Definitely no time off. Hopefully, I get three, four fights in 2019 also.”
Ultimately, the Fortis MMA prospect is starting to establish a name for himself inside MMA, and could very well be a household name soon. Garcia remains undefeated and just needs to continue to fight and fight at a high level. For now, it is back to training after an impressive win at Golden Boy MMA’s debut event.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/27/2018