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Gabi Garcia on MMA debut: ‘People thought I’d box like Manny Pacquiao and kick like Anderson Silva’

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One of the biggest champions in women’s jiu-jitsu history, Gabi Garcia, made a successful transition to mixed martial arts in 2015, defeating fellow newcomer Lei’d Tapa via first-round knockout at Rizin. But like in her grappling career, wins are followed by criticism.

With more than 10 gold medals in major grappling competition, including IBJJF world (six) and pan-american championships (three) and one ADCC title, Garcia was criticized for being way bigger than her opponents and smartly using that as an advantage, but in MMA, critics came in a different way.

In 2015, Garcia decided to join Kings MMA in California and prepare for her MMA career. Less than four months after her debut in Japan, she enters the Nippon Gaishi Hall in Jagoya to face Anna Maliukova, and the hate received in her debut fueled the jiu-jitsu black belt for Rizin Fighting Federation 1.

“I’m used to critics,” Garcia told MMA Fighting. “Since I started my career in jiu-jitsu, I was underestimated, nobody believed in me. Actually, I’m kind of driven by that, by challenges, by people who don’t believe I can do it. People criticized me so much it doesn’t bother me anymore. I can handle that today.”

Garcia got rocked by Tapa seconds into her MMA debut last December, but managed to come back and finish her opponent with a backfist.

“People thought I’d box like Manny Pacquiao and kick like Anderson Silva. That’s not how things work,” she said of the critics of her striking. “The adrenaline when you enter the arena and see thousands of people there, the lights and the music, it’s crazy. Mike Tyson always said, ‘everybody has a plane until they get punched’. People think it’s easy.

“I’m learning the basics. It took me 16 years to win my first gold medal in jiu-jitsu, so I wouldn’t the best ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting