When you hear the name Leonard Garcia, you think brawler, you think chaotic, you think "Fight of the Night."
Unfortunately, over his past three fights dating back to 2011, when you hear the name Leonard Garcia, you don't couple it with "winner." That's because "Bad Boy" has now dropped three straight inside the Octagon.
In fact, the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) standout hasn't tasted victory since besting Nam Phan in their original encounter back in 2010 -- a decision many felt should have gone the other way.
According to the Texas native, much can be attributed to his recent string of losses: Injuries, bad training camps, etc. But, if he had to point out the main thing, it's the fact that he strayed away from his usual "chaotic" style of fighting in favor of a more civilized technical brand to appease the fans point of view.
Now, as the feisty featherweight heads into perhaps the most important fight of his career -- one that could determine whether or not he has a spot on Zuffa's roster in 2013 -- Garcia says he will bring his old style of fighting back as he heads into UFC 155 this weekend (Dec. 29, 2012) to face Max Holloway.
UFC.com has the details:
"It took a lot of swallowing of my own pride to realize that the work that I was doing was good, and I was trying to learn different things and trying to turn different corners, but I was just trying to do that to be considered a smarter fighter, not just a brawler. But then I started to think ‘man, I used to nip on Cowboy (Cerrone)'s heels whenever we were training. I used to do these things and I used to challenge him and now I'm getting outclassed by these guys. My focus was on being competitive and not winning, and trying to be a smarter fighter, but not an effective fighter. That wasn't my forte. My forte was to go into fights, get in there, grind it out, push the guy really, really hard, and get a victory. I started to think ‘man, how come my skill set keeps dropping?' And the reason was, I would learn a move, and instead of going over it a hundred times like I'm supposed to, I would learn the move and try to make it seem like ‘okay, this is the technical way of doing it, and this is the way it should be done.' But everybody knows me, man. I don't do things the technical way. I make things look chaotic. If I'm going for an armbar, it looks like I'm going for a triangle or omoplata, and I end up getting an armbar. (Laughs) That's just my way of doing things. I'm more reckless about it, and I really go in there and make my own way of doing stuff and it worked for me for all those years, and I tried to change it for the fans' point of view."
As Garcia prepares to step into the cage in Las Vegas, Nevada, he will do so with the immense pressure of obtaining a much-needed win. For "Bad Boy," that's just what he needs:
"I am in a very good spot. I feel like I have pressure because I have to prove a lot. I have to prove to myself that I belong, I have to prove to the fans that I belong, and I have to prove to the UFC that I belong. And pressure is what I need."
Getting a "W" in "Sin City" won't be an easy task for the 13-year veteran, as he faces a red-hot Holloway who has won two straight and six of seven overall. However, Garcia is adamant his training is going well as he is "submitting guys again, I'm beating people up again, and I'm not missing six punches, I'm landing six of ‘em."
That could spell trouble for Holloway, as he will be facing a rejuvenated Garcia who is ready to throw caution to the wind, yet, determined to let his fists land directly on Holloway's face.