EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – It was last October when Fernie Garcia secured a UFC contract after impressing UFC president Dana White in his contender series.
Fast forward to now, the El Paso native is in the final stretch of an intense 10 week training camp, as he prepares to make his UFC debut on Saturday, the day of one of the most anticipated fight cards of the year, UFC 274 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Garcia (10-1-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will step into a UFC octagon for the first time in his career and face fellow bantamweight Journey Newsome (9-3-0 MMA, 0-2 UFC).
Garcia’s debut is a moment the Eastwood High School graduate has been waiting for his whole life.
“I started watching UFC when I was about 14 but before that I would watch boxing every weekend with my parents, my uncles, my family, so I’ve been a big fighting fan my entire life.” said Garcia. “In high school I transition into more of a fan of the UFC, so it is a life long dream of mine fighting in the UFC.”
On Saturday, Garcia will look to make his mark in the UFC against Newsome but it will be a challenge. Newsome has already three fights in the UFC but has lost two of them and had the other bout turned into a no contest.
Newsome will not only bring in his UFC experience into the octagon, something that Garcia doesn’t have yet, but he’ll bring in strong right hand power and a great acumen in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Regardless of the opposition’s talent, Garcia is ready to take on the challenge with his own set of abilities.
“He [Newsome] has been in there with some top guys inside the UFC so I think that is what he has over me,” said Garcia. “In the UFC you are not going to find any weaknesses anymore, he [Newsome] knocks people out with his right hand but he has a black belt in jiu-jitsu and he has a wrestling background, so there is no holes and you have to find ways to it and I am excited to find that way.”
“My expectation is to win no matter what,” said Garcia. “I’m going to win no matter what and I can’t saw how I just know that he is going to have to kill me to get me out of there or really hurt me to get me out of there. I just know I am wiling to die in there and do anything to get that win.”
Saturday will be a great opportunity for Garcia, who is fighting out of Dallas, Texas, to make his presence felt in the organization’s bantamweight division, as he will fight in the early prelims on the day of one of the most anticipated fight cards of the year: UFC 274.
“I know Sean Shelby (UFC Senior Vice President of Talent Relations and matchmaker) is expecting some big things out of me and expects me to put on a show so that is why he is putting me in front of a crowd,” said Garcia. “I just want to thank him for that and prove him right and get a big knockout.”
Garcia will be in action in UFC 274’s early prelims card and as of right now is scheduled as the first fight of the day. The early prelims are scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. MT and you can watch it on UFC Fight Pass+.