Garcia Respects Phan, But Doesn’t Like Him


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Leonard Garcia wanted a rematch with Nam Phan badly. | Photo: Dave Mandel


It’s usually the fighter who loses a bout that wants a rematch.

When Leonard Garcia got the call to fight Nam Phan again Saturday at UFC 136, though, he accepted in “three-tenths of a second” despite winning their first encounter.

“This fight was real important to me,” Garcia told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “… The way it felt for me the first time we were in the cage, before I had seen the fight, I felt like I was getting beat. I didn’t feel good about the decision, so I offered him a rematch right away. I was a man of my word and tried to do it, and of course it fell through and he got injured. Now we have a chance to go in there and rewrite it.”

Garcia won that first contest in December 2010 via a very controversial split decision. It wasn’t his best showing by any stretch, but he did take the fight on short notice. He’d just eaten Thanksgiving dinner when the UFC called to see what he weighed. After stepping on a scale at 172 pounds, he agreed to make 145 in eight days.

“My whole training camp for Nam last time was a sweatsuit and a treadmill,” Garcia said. “That’s all it was. That’s all I was able to do for eight days. A little bit of pad work but not much. All I really did for that camp was lose weight.”

Garcia feels that he had a good first round but that Phan took the second. In the third, he said both men sat back and tried to catch their breath.

“It was one of those fights where I wasn’t happy throughout the whole fight,” Garcia said. “I remember in between rounds I was like, ‘What the f--k did I get myself into? I’m tired.’ It was just bad thoughts going through my mind. … I took all those feelings into the training camp with me this time. Every time I felt like that, when I was tired getting in shape for this one, I just pushed through it. I know that I can because I was able to push through in that fight.”

Some of Phan’s postfight comments have also motivated Garcia.

“I respect Nam as a fighter,” Garcia said. “I think he’s a great fighter. I just don’t like him as a person. Some of the stuff he said after that last fight was stuff that I felt like he was taking some personal blows at me. Now I’m going in with a chip on my shoulder.”

For the rematch, Garcia has had four weeks to prepare. That’s not exactly a full training camp, but the Jackson’s MMA product said it’s plenty of time to deliver a much better performance.

“I think Nam’s not going to come out and try to stand with me,” Garcia said. “I think he’s going to try to take me down. I’m eager to show people my jiu-jitsu skills and my wrestling skills. If he tries to stand, it won’t be anything like it was the first fight.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:25:06).

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