The UFC has some serious thinking to do when it comes to Leonard Garcia.
Garcia, who has been fighting for Zuffa in the UFC and WEC since 2007, has never really been an especially great fighter. He has a fan-friendly, wild-swinging style that has earned him four Fight of the Night bonuses (and one for Knockout of the Night) and has made him one of the most recognizable featherweights in the UFC. That said, he has never wowed anyone with anything other than his ability to take a beating.
After dropping a unanimous decision to Matt Grice at UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall, Garcia is now officially on a three-fight losing streak. Saying “Garcia is on a three-fight losing streak," though, does not do justice to the lack of success Garcia has actually had with Zuffa.
Garcia, between the UFC and WEC, is 6-7-1. That in and of itself is not that bad (though fighters like Gerald Harris and Thales Leites have been cut with substantially better records).
However, Garcia is also a frequent favorite of the judges who, in this span of time, have actually awarded him two controversial split-decision wins (against Jameel Massouh at UFC 42 and later against Nam Phan at the TUF12 Finale), a controversial draw against George Roop (Roop, most believed, should have gotten the decision) and gave him the nod over Chan-Sung Jung in their neck-and-neck slugfest at WEC 48.
In fact, Garcia's last controversy-free victory came when he knocked out Jens Pulver at WEC 36 in 2008. This win is also the only time Garcia has put together back-to-back victories under Zuffa employ. To top it all off, the two men who his most recent victories have come over (Chan-Sung Jung and Nam Phan) beat him in their rematches.
So, yeah. Garcia has not done too well in the last four years.
All that said, have fans seen the last of Leonard Garcia in the UFC? It is hard to say at this point, but probably not. Not to harp on this, but the UFC is hurting for featherweight fighters, plain and simple.
Is Garcia great? No. But the UFC is looking at a wave of young fighters that will soon flood into the featherweight division, courtesy of the three most recent seasons of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF14 and TUF: Brazil both featured featherweights, while some TUF: Live alumni are likely to drop to featherweight) and the upcoming The Smashes season (which also features lightweights).
Garcia, in all likelihood, will not be close to a title fight from this point forward. That said, he is capable of beating at least some of the rookies that will be pouring into the promotion in the next year. At the very least, he is likely to receive another fight or two before being cut.
While ultimately the results of his fights would certainly suggest he should be given a pink slip, Garcia is likely going to be given the Keith Jardine treatment. Dana White loves brawlers. Even brawlers that lose.
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