Gabi Garcia: 2017 was a bad year, but I have evolved

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Nine-time BJJ world champion Gabi Garcia has moved on to mixed martial arts. In her first year and a day in MMA, she went 4-0, with only one fight making it out of Round 1.

Then in 2017, her career devolved into disaster.

A shootboxing bout vs. then 45-year old bantamweight Megumi Yabushita ended in seconds – a No Contest was declared after the massive Garcia landed an illegal soccer kick. Her next bout also ended in a No Contest, when Garcia accidentally poked boxer Oksana Gagloeva in the eye just 16 seconds into Round 1. That’s hard to top, but the next fight never even made it into the ring.

Unconscionable matchmakers at RIZIN pitted Garcia against 53-year-old Japanese Judoka/pro wrestler-turned-politician and grandmother Shinobu Kandori. There was a 50-pound difference between Kandori and the contracted 209 lbs that Garcia was to hit. Then Garcia missed weight by 27 pounds. The despicable fight that never, ever, ever should have been made was canceled.

RIZIN perhaps wisely allowed Garcia to fight for another organization. At Road FC 47 in Beijing, China, on May 12, Garcia fights Russia’s Veronika Futina. Unlike RIZIN, Road put together a legit fight.

The bout is at openweight, so there will be no missing weight, although Garcia plans not to let her weight get too high. And it’s a fair fight – the Gladiator Fight Team-trained Futina weighs a little over 200 pounds, and has extensive combat sports experience and success in Judo, boxing, and combat sambo.

In an extensive interview with Guilherme Cruz for MMA Fighting, Garcia said she hopes to turn things around this year.


”It’s my first time fighting in a cage,” said Garcia. “It changes my strategy, my takedowns. I’m doing a different training for a month now, and I’m anxious. … I’ve learned and evolved a lot. Last year was a bad year for me, but 2018 has been great so far. I can’t wait to fight for the first time in a cage.”

”She has said some strong words for me, calling me a disgrace, that I’m not a good fighter and she will take my glory. I’m not used to this s*** talking because I come from jiu-jitsu and we don’t have that there, but that fuels me. I wouldn’t want to fight an angry Gabi… not angry because we can’t put emotion in a fight, but I’ll look at her and remember everything she said.

”She has made some heavy accusations, but the country that was banned [by the IOC for PED violations] was Russia, not Brazil. We’re both getting tested, and we’ll see who wins on May 12. I wouldn’t want to be in her spot.”

Garcia hopes to also fight on RIZIN’s July 29 card, and offered a compelling defense of her participation in freakshow fights. The UFC is having a hard time finding opponents for Cris Cyborg at 145. Garcia is around 220. And she’s not the matchmaker.

”I’m an employee,” she explained. “When I talked about being depressed, it’s because I train hard and then they put you to do something you don’t expect. I never asked for easy fights in my life. I never fought for money. … I will always agree with anything they ask, but that’s not what I want. Now I can say ‘no’ to the opponents I don’t think are good for my career. Not that I’m choosing, but… I think my next opponent will be a good fight, a really tough opponent.”

Image courtesy of Facebook…