Rafa García has only one loss in his career and it was in his UFC debut. At 12-1, the former Combate Americas Lightweight champion is set for his second Octagon appearance, facing Chris Gruetzemacher, in much better condition than the first time around.
García, originally from Mexicali, Baja California, took the call four days before his debut against Nasrat Haqparast and although he did fight competitively, his physical conditions were not enough to take the fight.
“Now, it’s been three months that I prepared for the fight. The first I had to lose 22 pounds from Tuesday to Friday, it was an opportunity that I could not let go. Instead of making excuses, for the short notice, I want to take something positive and go out and correct the mistakes I made, because it wasn’t just that I got tired, that’s why I want to correct mistakes, that’s why I went to Denver to do this camp “, explains García in an interview with ESPN Sports.
Few fighters can boast the support that Rafa has; For years, veteran Cub Swanson has been advising him and became his manager and for this preparation he could not have had better help.
“We went to Denver for three months, to improve cardio and train with people like Justin Gaethje and Trevor wittman. The coach is very detailed, since I throw a jab he has to check that my feet are fine, I feel that I have much better boxing, better fighting, I am better in my takedowns. Much of what he uses is footwork. Details that you don’t normally see, but that help a lot ”, explained ‘Gifted’.
Wittman is one of the best coaches today, in recent years, with work in the corner of welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and champion Paja Rose Namajunas, as well as former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje.
With the team that has surrounded him, he feels confident of coming out with a victory against Gruetzemacher: “He is a fighter who goes very well towards the front, receives a lot of blows and seeks to tire his rival and from there grow. We are going to try to keep him from moving, to corner him and finish the fight, ”he added.
Rafa has great fighting talent and has shown improvement in each of his fights with his hands, which is why he has attracted the attention of many UFC stars, who have supported him, such as Cub Swanson.
“He has always had confidence in me. Take care of all my steps, seek my improvement, coming to Colorado was a decision we made together; come with Gaethje, with Drew Dober who is my weight. He came to see that everything was one hundred percent and Gaethje has treated me like his little brother, I feel like I have another Cub in Colorado.
In that sense he has been a privileged person and although he has just lost undefeated as a professional, the story of Brandon Moreno, who grew up a few kilometers from him, in Tijuana, is inspiring to him: “More than anything, he showed us that you can . Seeing he was picked last from The Ultimate Fighter, cut from the UFC, doing what he did, he motivates us because a lot of people give up when things don’t go the way you want them to. They told me that I came from a small city and there were no opportunities, opportunities go away and they are sought, no one is going to give you anything. With work and effort, everything can be done ”, concludes Rafa.
García will be part of the card this Saturday, where Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland play the main event.