Two weeks after dropping his fourth straight fight to Cody McKenzie at UFC 159, Leonard Garcia has announced his intention to leave Jackson’s MMA. The decision comes after it was also announced on Wednesday that the UFC had given the featherweight his walking papers.

Garcia, alongside best friend Donald Cerrone, have been integral members in the success of Jackson’s team. It can even be argued that they put the academy on the map. Still, Garcia felt it was time to freshen things up and improve upon his major weakness: Wrestling. Garcia spoke with about his announcement:

“I’m going to go out to Team Alpha Male for a little while. My cousin Duane Ludwig is out there, and I talked it over with Greg (Jackson). Greg said, ‘Yeah, the problem is guys that can take you down and hold you down.’ And now I’m going to go to a whole team of guys who are really, really good at that.”

This should prove to be a good move for the man known as “Bad Boy”, as his lackluster performance against Mckenzie showed. Being continuously taken down and offering no serious resistance on the ground, Garcia acknowledges his short-comings and will now work to amend them. A change of scenery to a prestigious wrestling camp like Alpha Male should do wonders for the career of the Texas-born fighter.

Having found a new training home, the 33 year-old featherweight will now look to another well-known promotion in hopes of earning a place back in the UFC. A veteran of 27 professional fights and 17 under the Zuffa promotion, Garcia said he is now entertaining offers from both Bellator and World Series of Fighting. He expects to return as soon as July.

No decision on where exactly the winner of six “Fight of the Night” bonuses will fight next. However, it comes as great news that a once-promising title challenger still has some left in the tank. With some fine-tuning at Alpha Male, Garcia should have no problem re-inventing himself and showing the world that “Bad Boy” can still compete with the best.


Photo by Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports