EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – It was an opportunity of a lifetime for El Paso native Fernie Garcia. Garcia, a professional mixed martial artist, presented with a chance to secure an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contract.
Garcia was selected to participate in ‘Dana White’s Contender Series’ Tuesday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The contender series is a chance for fighters aspiring to be in the UFC to show their worth in front of the boss A.K.A UFC President Dana White. It is known as “the most intense job interview” and Garcia was prepared for it.
All it took was one big right hand from Garcia that connected with his opponent Joshua Weems’ head. The punch knocked Weems down and from there it was all ground and pound action that eventually led to the fight being stopped.
It was a 1st round TKO victory for Garcia along with a performance that left no doubts in the mind of White for a UFC contract.
“Great chin, incredible counter-puncher, big power, he [Garcia] is 10-1, 29 years old, no brainer,” said White when deciding which fighters earned a contract.
It made for a moment that Garcia would remember forever.
“The fact that he [Dana White] was so confident in my skills and just shook it off like it was nothing and said it was a “no brainer, get over here kid” was just everything to me,” Garcia said. “It was so much weight lifted off my shoulders because I always knew I was good enough to be in the UFC and fight the best of the best, so when he said yes, it was time to prove it again and now I’m going to fight the elite of the elites.”
Along with the contract, Garcia improved his professional MMA record to 10-1 and extended his win streak to five bouts. Garcia’s last 4 of 5 wins came in another top professional MMA promotion Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA).
Garcia has already put pen to paper on his UFC contract and told KTSM he doesn’t know when he will make his UFC debut. Garcia hopes to do it before the year ends but that decision will ultimately be made by White and UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby.
All Garcia can do now is continue to train and be ready to pounce on opportunity once again.
Garcia was born and raised in El Paso. He attended Eastwood High School and graduated in 2010. He now resides in Dallas, Texas and trains in a gym known to produce UFC talent: Fortis MMA.
Although he is hundreds of miles away from the 915, he still feels strong support from a passionate community that loves their fighters.
“You know as a little kid that is all you dream of, you want to represent your city and have your city love you back and have all those thousands of people have your back,” Garcia said. “I think that is what every little kid or athlete dreams of, so that fact that I’m in the UFC now and I’ve been getting great support from El Paso – it feels awesome and is a dream come true already.”