Alex Garcia: The Best Fighter You’ve Probably Never Heard of…Yet
(FIGHT HOUSE MANAGEMENT PRESS RELEASE)
Heading into 2012, Alex Garcia was confident and poised to make a name for himself amongst mainstream MMA fans. The 7-1 Dominican Republic-born fighter who left his homeland four years ago to train with some of the world’s best welterweights at Tristar in Montreal had bounced back from the only loss of his career and had taken great strides to ensure that another blemish on his record wouldn’t come easily.
Promotions were calling and inquiring about his services. Sponsors were lining up. Popular MMA website BloodyElbow.com named him as the world’s number two welterweight prospect on their World MMA Scouting Report, behind only Yuri Villefort and ahead of highly-touted young fighters Erick Silva, Douglas Lima and Gunnar Nelson. The future was bright and Garcia was taking everything in stride, knowing what opportunities lay around the corner.
Then, in February, disaster struck and took the steam out of his rapid ascension out of obscurity and upwards in the world’s welterweight rankings.
Tweaking his knee during wrestling practice, Garcia knew the damage was worse than a typical sprain or strain. A trip to the orthopedic surgeon corroborated his suspicion. Like his teammate, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Garcia had torn his anterior cruciate ligament, necessitating surgery if he would ever want to fight again. It was a crossroads the talented prospect never imagined he would face at 24.
Surgery and rehab would prove daunting, but much like bouncing back from the shocking loss he suffered at the tail end of 2011, Garcia used the humbling experience to shore up his mental and emotional weaknesses before switching focus to his physical and technical ones when he returned to the mats. The introspective process and time away from training he says helped fortify his overall already strong foundation, making him a better fighter in all areas of the game.
“It was tough, man. Rehab wasn’t easy. My team and my coaches and my managers and my friends and family all helped me push through it, though. I owe them a lot. I couldn’t go into the gym at all because it was just too hard. I knew if I went, I’d want to train, so I stayed away on purpose,” Garcia recounts. “I can honestly say that I’m stronger and more focused than ever.”
The hype behind Garcia’s return isn’t without substance. According to his longtime coach, Firas Zahabi whose stable includes some of the sport’s best, including St-Pierre, Rory MacDonald, Denis Kang, David Loiseau and Ivan Menjivar, Garcia’s potential matches up with any of the names on his training resume of fighters.
“Alex Garcia has some of the greatest potential I have ever seen in a fighter,” Zahabi asserts. “His upcoming fight will show everyone that he is a future superstar.”
Garcia’s heavily anticipated return to action is slated for Friday night in Montreal where he will take on 20-fight vet Stephane Lemarche in the main event of Tristar Fights’ SLAMM1 event. According to Garcia, he is planning on delivering a breakout performance to set the stage for what’s to come next year.
“2012 was supposed to be my year and I feel like I had that taken away from me,” he says, with obvious resentment in his voice. “I have my only fight of the year coming up [Friday] and I’m going to make a statement with that fight that I’m back. Then in 2013, you’re going to see me make up for lost time. Next year will definitely be my year. Believe me.”