“I always say that I was predestined to fight, because my name, Alonso, means ‘warrior ready for battle.’”
Alonso is a Spanish name with Germanic origins. Depending on who is translating, it basically means “eager for battle.” While some of the most famous people in history with the first name Alonso are explorers, soccer players and even a male model, it’s no surprise that a quick browse of the MMA Underground’s fighter database shows that there are a couple dozen fighters that share the name.
Alonso Garcia is a lifelong combatant, so his name is very fitting. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and raised in the small town of Walsh, Colo., he has always been drawn to the fighting arts.
“Honestly, the whole fight journey has been my evolution as a martial artist,” Garcia told Combat Press. “I’ve been fascinated with martial arts ever since I was a child. It’s always been a part of me to fight. I remember watching Bloodsport as a child, thinking that someday I was going to be fighting in a cage.
“I started in traditional martial arts, and that led to training in MMA about eight years ago. At the time, the consensus at Grudge [Training Center] was that you needed to kickbox a few times before you did MMA and jiu-jitsu tournaments, so that was the path that I started with while I was trying to build my wrestling pedigree. I never wrestled in high school, so I just started from scratch. Kickboxing happened to be the first thing they put me into.”
While MMA was the natural evolution for Garcia, it wasn’t always about getting his hands on somebody inside the cage. Like most youngsters in the ’80s and ’90s, it was all about those awesome movies, which almost always led to some kind of karate program.
“I did taekwondo as a child growing up, so when I moved to Fort Collins to go to college, I enrolled at a kung fu school, and they had me brainwashed for three years, thinking that I was learning all of the baddest fighting moves on Earth,” Garcia explained. “I was in college at the time, and after three years of training, I was at a house party and got in a fight. I got my ass kicked, and I remember thinking, ‘I didn’t use a single thing from the last three years of kung fu.’
“It was all dojo martial arts — no practical things from a combat scenario, like boxing, kickboxing, etc. About that time, The Ultimate Fighter came on TV, and I remember watching it thinking, ‘These guys know how to fight.’ The very next day, I went and canceled my membership at my kung fu school, and I enrolled in my first MMA school.”
Garcia’s transition into MMA began at a small outfit in Fort Collins, Colo., but he later moved to Trevor Wittman’s Grudge Training Center in the Denver area. At the time, guys like Nate Marquardt, Eliot Marshall, Duane Ludwig and Shane Carwin were training at the gym and pursuing careers in the UFC. As a few of them were either winding down their careers or moving to other camps, Garcia was coming into his own as a mixed martial artist.
The Mexican-American warrior took to the cage for his first battle in February 2011. Over the next three years, he would go on to rack up a combined professional and amateur record of 9-0 with two knockouts, two submissions and a handful of decisions.
Last year, Garcia had big plans to fight several times, but an injury sidelined him prior to a planned October match-up against Matt Cox, who held the Sparta Combat League welterweight title at the time. He had broken his sternum in practice, which led to two disconnected ribs. The injury was not career-ending, but it definitely disrupted his plans for the remainder of the year, because his recovery consisted of no activity for several months. In February, that all changed.
“I’ve been cleared for about two months now,” Garcia said. “As soon as I could, I got back to it. I didn’t waste any time. I’ve just been sharpening my skills. It took me a while to get back to that tip-top shape after being out for five months with an injury.”
Although he still trains at Grudge, Garcia also works out with the Elevation Fight Team, Easton Training Center and, occasionally, High Altitude Martial Arts, all in the Denver area. He trains at multiple gyms to get the best training and the most looks, since he is always eager for a battle. This type of preparation comes in handy when the promoters come calling for a replacement, and that’s exactly what happened a little over a month ago.
Garcia was getting ready and reaching out to promoters for a fight, when a scheduled welterweight bout fell through for the Sparta Combat League: Army vs. Marines VI event this Saturday night at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland, Colo. He was the first one ready to step up.
“I was training and getting back in shape, so I asked Jeff [Cisneros] for a fight,” Garcia stated. “[Kris] Hocum was supposed to fight Nick Laney on this card, but Laney pulled out about four or five weeks ago, and I filled the void.”
Garcia hasn’t fought since last summer, so he is chomping at the bit and ready to get back in the cage. His last fight was against a very tough Joe Miles. The fight went to a split decision in Garcia’s favor.
“Overall, I think that Hocum is a lot like my last opponent, and my last opponent was my toughest opponent to date,” Garcia admitted. “Stylistically, Hocum was a state champion wrestler, so he’s got a good base, as far as the grappling. He’s kickboxed several times, and he’s 6-3 as a pro. His three losses have come by submission. I was there for one of them, when I fought the same night as he did. I feel like his jiu-jitsu may be not quite as technical as mine. I feel like that is where I make my money, in the second or third round once he gets tired, catching him in a submission. He’s been choked out in a rear-naked twice, so I don’t think he’s good at defending that.”
Hocum trains at Trials MMA in Fort Collins under longtime MMA vets Ed Herman and Ryan Schultz. He was an outstanding wrestler and is a very tough competitor inside the cage. Even though Garcia started in the striking arts, he feels that he is going to be the superior all-around combatant.
“My goal is to finish my opponent — to fight until the fight is stopped — whether it’s by TKO or submission or whatever,” Garcia said. “My game has been evolving, but I started my fight career as a kickboxer. I was undefeated as a kickboxer when I transitioned into MMA. Now, my fighting style in MMA has expressed itself as a grappling style, so I’ve been able to smoke people on the ground up until the last couple of fights. Guys have gotten better at defending the takedowns, so it forces us to stand on the feet, and I’m okay with that. I’ll take it wherever the fight goes. Just expect an exciting fight from start to finish, and Kris Hocum’s going to get broke.”
Garcia has been really good about bringing his fighting dreams to fruition, and he is definitely aiming for the stars. Like any fighter worth his salt, fighting, in and of itself, is just not enough. It is important to him to be at the top of the game, and that is exactly where he is headed. This Saturday night, as he enters the cage for the fifth time as a pro, his sights are set on the win.
“My intention when I started this sport was to be fighting in the big leagues — to be fighting in the UFC or one of the other big shows — so that’s where I want to be by the end of this year. My goal last year was to fight six times, but because of an injury, I was only able to fight three. I’m looking to fight every other month and build my record to be where I need to be to get the call to the big show. I just need to keep winning. People are always preoccupied with title fights in the organizations I fight for, but the title is inconsequential to the outcome. The only thing that matters is winning fights, and winning in dominant fashion. That’s what I need to keep doing, and the rest will take care of itself.”