Gabi Garcia: “Watching Ronda in the UFC has thrilled me! I really want to fight MMA!”

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Gabi Garcia is ready for new challenges in 2013 and in life. Photo by Dan Rod

Gabi Garcia is ready for new challenges in 2013 and in life. Photo by Dan Rod

The first female MMA fight in UFC history, on Saturday, moved a very special TV viewer. The three times Jiu-Jitsu absolute world champion, Gabi Garcia, saw the victory of Ronda Rousey by armbar over Liz Carmouche and now she is really eager to wear the gloves too. In this interview for GRACIEMAG.com, Gabi reveals she has already received invitations to train and she is preparing to meet this next challenge in life. Moreover, she spoke about getting ready for big Jiu-Jitsu championships in 2013, on the novelty about drug tests and the reference she became to other women who practice the gentle art.

As a competitor, how will Gabi Garcia in 2013 be better than Gabi Garcia in 2012 and what are your big goals for this year?

Gabi Garcia will be the same, full of desire to win and break records. I want to win another absolute world title and write my name in the history of Jiu-Jitsu. Sometimes it is very difficult to keep motivated, stay on top is much harder than getting there. I started to work with the trainer James Heck seeking more power and explosion. I’m much stronger, and one of the things that motivate me the most is to know that the girls are training to beat me. Many girls want to hold the fight against me at 0-0, and let the referee to decide. This is something I do not want to happen in 2013! And the goals are the same, always strive forward and go after the gold medals.

What did you think of the debut of women’s MMA in the UFC with the victory of Ronda Rousey? Will we see Gabi in the octagon one day?

I loved Ronda’s fight with Liz Carmouche. It really moved me because I always raised the women flag and seeing women coming in the UFC is really exciting.  It’s nice for women at home to watch where they can get. This is very good, I’m sure that new fights and new categories will come. I have received some invitations to train MMA and I really want to. I hope new categories are created, because I’m working with my nutritionist Rodolfo Peres and my doctor Paulo Muzy to lose as much weight as I can. I will strive to participate in this phase that women are going in MMA. I want new challenges in my life.

IBJJF added a drug test for Pan 2013 and should do it in other big events. What did you think of the measure? What changes have you done in your athlete routine to avoid a positive result in case you are tested?

I haven’t changed anything in my routine, I’m just being careful with medications, other than that it’s a lot of training and willingness. I find it interesting to make Jiu-Jitsu more professional and take away the doubts of many people, but I think the IBJJF is thinking only about itself and not the athletes. They plan on showing a clean image to profit from it, rather than thinking about the athletes, rewarding them by providing a better structure. They could use that money to reward the girls in IBJJ Pro League, which had no female categories last year. Many people want Jiu-Jitsu to become an Olympic sport, but Olympic athletes have transportation, accommodation, meals in the tournament, doctor, nutritionist, all paid by the confederation of each sport. We have to pay for everything, in a sport that has no sponsorship.

In the last two years, you have become a reference for women practitioners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. How it is like to carry this responsibility?

I do not carry it as a responsibility, but as a reward for my effort and my dedication. Many people judge me, don’t like my Jiu-Jitsu, but these people have to realize that after I started up the female Jiu-Jitsu has grown a lot. People watch my fights because I draw their attention, and it draws attention to the female Jiu-Jitsu! Once I started to showcase my training, many girls have appeared, started to train hard and dedicate. They look at me and think that if I got where I am today, if I earn my living with Jiu-Jitsu, they can too. I think I was very important for the growth of women in the sport, and I have that feedback every day. My fans are intense, they make shirts, hats, tattoos, send me messages, get excited when they talk to me, they cry, it is priceless. Criticisms disappear when I receive the affection and motivation of fans and people who like me and I’m sure I can do much more for the sport.

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