Over his 19 fight career, Leonard Garcia has proven to be one of the most entertaining and exciting fighters to watch compete in the sport of mixed martial arts. From his 2007 brawl with Roger Huerta, to his 2010 “Fight of the Night” against George Roop at WEC 47, Garcia just does not understand how to put on a boring performance, and precisely why he has landed on the Spike TV broadcast of two fights off the WEC 48 preliminary card.
“Dana White called me a couple days ago and he told me he was gonna put me on Spike,” states Garcia. “He told me that the number one reason he picked me was because my inability to be boring. He’s like, ‘There’s no fight that I’ve ever found on you that has been boring.’ You know, I’ve won three Fight of the Nights since I’ve been with Zuffa and had two Knockouts of the Night. This is just something that makes me happy and makes me wanna give you guys a great fight.”
Garcia’s “inability to be boring” is a priceless commodity for any fighter. The sport constantly has guys with less-than-thrilling fighting styles denied of title shots, regardless of record and recent history.
However, it is no easy task teaching a fighter to be an exciting one, but that is a lesson Garcia has never needed to learn. His exciting style and heart are two things he has in his blood.
“I have a never-say-die attitude,” explains Garcia. “In the gym, I take a lot of heat because I always let the arm bar probably go too long or I’ll let the choke stay in a little too long. That’s just my mentality. I train that way. I fight that way. I feel like I’ve always had that.”
On April 24, Garcia will have an opportunity to put on another exciting performance when he faces off against Sengoku veteran Chan Sung Jung, who was originally scheduled to face Cub Swanson.
Garcia is hardly the ideal late replacement to be matched up against, but “Bad Boy” understands this is no easy fight after just three weeks of preparation. However, he is prepared for a tough fight against a man he finds eerily similar to himself.
“The problem with Chan is we’re the same type of fighter,” states Garcia. “We’re really similar. We’re all over the place, looking to finish the fight. It makes for a great fight. And I just feel like it was a good camp for me. Even though it was on three-weeks notice, I was already back in the gym training after my last one. So I’m excited.”
The former featherweight top contender is anticipating a tough fight between himself and his Japanese opponent. After all, matching up Garcia to a man he has similarities with is the recipe for an incredibly exciting fight. However, the Texas native sees a distinct advantage he holds over Jung.
“ (My) power,” states Garcia simply. “I feel like we’re bigger and stronger as Americans than the Korean people. You know, due to their diet, I don’t think they get as much protein as we do or something. As far as brute force and power, I feel I have him beat in that area and I feel like that’s what can be exploited.”
While Garcia sees an advantage he will hold over his opponent come Saturday night, he knows that defeating, let alone finishing, Jung is no easy task. The matchup is a tough one for Garcia, especially being on such short notice, and while he is confident in his ability, he is anxious for the fight…in a good way.
“He’s one of those guys who is just coming off a loss and then he had win afterward,” states Garcia. “He feels like he’s back in the full swing of things. Those fighters are dangerous. I know there’s a chance there’s going to be 15 minutes of war and I invite that. Those are the fights you want – the fights that you’re scared of the guy, you’re afraid of what he can do. Those are the fights that I do my best. It’s when I think I’m gonna go out and cream the guy is when I do my worst. I would lie if I said I wasn’t scared. There’s something in my stomach telling me that Chan’s a warrior and he’s gonna come after me.”
Garcia may admit to being nervous as the days inch closer towards his bout with Jung, but, like his training partner and fellow WEC 48 competitor Donald Cerrone, he is just focused on putting on a great performance. With years and years of exciting fights, he will probably do just that.
However, win or lose, Garcia is just happy to be doing what he does as a profession. He has the love for the game, so to speak, and that is something that he treasures and drives him to be the best fighter he can be.
“To me, the most important thing about fighting is having fun,” exclaims Garcia. “Once it becomes not fun anymore, I’m not gonna like it. I don’t ever want this to become a job. I feel like I’m going out there and doing what I love to do. It’s a dream come true when you wake up every morning and do something that you want to do.”