In this God given life, we all walk different
paths. We wear different shoes and we carry different. Throughout life
we are given challenges which create the opportunity to make choices.
The choices we make are played out in the actions we take, which creates
our personal life’s history. Leonard Garcia is one of those souls who
has had many challenges throughout his life. He has endured trials and
tribulations from all sides. Garcia has molded the prime example of
a warrior's spirit due to the pressures of adversity. In my opinion,
he is a living example of a true warrior spirit both inside and outside
the cage. Recently, Garcia shocked the world with his dominating performance
over WEC’s number 1 contender, Jens Pulver. Garcia’s future is clear.
He has the tools for what it takes to become champion in the WEC. Through
this interview I was able to sit down with Garcia and talk with him
about his fights, his past, present and the potential future. Hearing
what he had to say clearly illustrates that he has a fighting spirit
and it will take a higher force to stop this man from attaining his
goal. I am proud to have been given the opportunity to interview him.
I hope you all enjoy this warrior’s tale.
Tony: 1:12 seconds in the first round, Wow! Did
you plan to finish the fight that quick?
Garcia: I trained for a fast paced fight, I was ready to go all 3 rounds,
but I was gonna throw hard from bell to bell. So even though it shocked
me a little that he went down early, I wasn't surprised.
Tony: And that end result has a lot to do with
your hard training at Greg Jackson's camp if I’m correct. Who were some
of the guys that helped you out for this fight?
Garcia: Greg has a major part in my win. He pushes us to the limit everyday.
He tries to break us. My camp consisted of Duane Ludwig, Donald "cowboy"
Cerrone, Hector Munoz, GSP, Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, John Dotson,
Joey Villasenor, Luke Caudillo, Christian Allen, Eliot Marshall, Damacio
Page, Tom Kong Watson, Frankie Gomes, and we have a squad down here
Tony: Wow that‘s a big crew of big named fighters.
And for someone like you who’s been in the fight game for as long as
you have, a good solid team and camp is important. Do you think that's
why a lot of fighters don’t last, because of their training or true
Garcia: I think the camp makes a huge difference. We have a family at
Jackson's. Greg is the mortar, we are the bricks. We all stick together.
When we win, we are happy. When we lose, the whole team feels like it
lost. I think being in a camp definitely makes or breaks a career.
Tony: What's the training schedule like for you?
Mon - Sunday before you fight, any days off?
Garcia: Death on Monday thru Saturday…ha ha that’s how it feels sometimes.
We run two-a-days all week, Monday thru Thursday. Then we go hard Friday
morning and then again on Saturday. We are off Sundays for church and
Tony: Death, I LOVE IT…LOL, that’s hard core
training bro. Right now you have such a massive win over Jens. Are you
gonna take time off to get ready for your next fight?
Garcia: No. I've had plenty off time off. I am learning a lot right
now. So I figure, why stop learning. I'll just tone it down a little,
then start hitting it hard as soon as they give me the name of my next
Tony: And at this point I'm sure rumors might
be flying around that your next fight might be Brown for a title fight.
Do you feel you match up well against him?
Garcia: I feel like I match up great against him. He is the best 145er
in the world right now. He is a dangerous fighter, but so am I, and
I'm also hungry. I want to be the champion and I will train harder then
ever when I face Brown or anyone else they put in front of me.
Tony: With your permission. Recently, charges
were dropped against you for "an alleged role in a drug trafficking
ring." How were you able to remain focused when life changing events
were happening around you including false accusations against you?
Garcia: Life is crazy. If you're doing something, problems may come
up. If you're not doing anything, problems may never arise. The only
thing I can say is it sucked when I got charged. The headlines were
huge and in bright lights. But when the charges were dropped there were
no headlines. Fair? No! But, I guess that’s life.
Tony: Does that day still play back in your mind?
Garcia: Everyday I remember how all this could have been gone. I appreciate
my life and everyone who stuck by me.
Tony: And through a life changing event such
as that, friends and family were always by your side?
Garcia: My family and team stayed by my side. My manager also was always
checking on me. It helps a lot when people believe in you. My family
suffered a lot because of this, so when I train I think of them. I make
myself train harder and harder. I try to make them proud when I fight.
So my goal is to become a champion not only for myself, but for them
Tony: And since the beginning of your career
in MMA, has the support always been there from your family?
Garcia: Yes. My parents even drove me to some of my first out of town
fights and they always supported back then. They never knew that I could
make a career of it, but they stuck by me. I’m glad they did.
Tony: Why MMA? What sparked the desire to become
a professional athlete?
Garcia: When I graduated I was stabbed 8 times. I had both my lungs
punctured. It took me a while to recover. It killed my chances at playing
college ball, so I took up MMA to stay in a competition sport and I
loved it. More then anything I had ever done.
Tony: Stabbed 8 times? Right out of high school
Garcia: At a taco cabana, after a night of dancing with some friends,
a guy ate nachos of my table and I knocked him out. He then went outside
and waited for me to come out, and when I got outside he wanted to fight
again. And he had a knife the whole time. I was 18, he was 26. He went
to the same hospital as I did and he had a broken jaw and a busted ear
drum. He was sent to prison.
Tony: I really don't have any words right now.
Wow. You've been through a lot man. Wow. You have a very, very strong
spirit Leonard. Very strong. Has MMA and competition always kept that
Zen so to speak in your life. Has it kept the balance?
Garcia: To be honest, it has been my mom Elena Seanz Garcia. She is
the strongest cornerstone of my life. There is nothing like a mothers
love. My mom will dig to china for me without a shovel. That is what
makes me want to be great because she has always believed in me.
Tony: And I think a lot of people in life tend
to forget what a mother stands for and how unconditional her love is
for a child. If it wasn’t for women we wouldn't be here.
Garcia: I agree Tony. Our family is very close, because of my mom we
have strong family values and we look out for each other. I think that
is also important in a career.
Tony: Now that 2009 is approaching, what can
we look forward into seeing from Garcia in 09’?
Garcia: Expect me to get better and better. Coach Jackson is really
taking interest. In all of us he is taking time to make us better. I
am gonna be more complete and more powerful every time I come out.
Tony: I would like to thank you Garcia for this
interview. I would also like to wish you the best of luck in your quest
towards winning the championship in the WEC. Anyone you want to thank
before you head out?
Garcia: I’d like to thank god, my family, team Jackson and Tapout, kill-it,
nutitox, mtx, Jesus Didn’t Tap, and all my other Sponsors and you Tony
for taking the time to interview me.