The last few years have seen a number of high profile MMA fighters make the jump over to boxing. Everyone from Conor McGregor to Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz; hell even Ben Askren laced up a pair of gloves to test his mettle inside the ring. Given the potential for larger purses and higher profile bouts, it’s little wonder that so many combat sports athletes look to boxing as an opportunity they can’t pass up.
With that dynamic in play, it’s also no surprise that we rarely see fighters going the opposite direction. James Toney made a notable spectacle of himself back in 2010 against Randy Couture. He’s pretty much the start and end of the conversation when it comes to notable boxers who have set foot inside the UFC’s Octagon.
It just might be that former WBC interim lightweight champ and still-unbeaten 24-year-old title contender Ryan Garcia could look to change all that. Back in 2021, ‘The Flash’ announced that he planned to retire from boxing at age 26, and take his talents to MMA.
“You know what I’m willing to do?” Garcia teased. “I really haven’t said this out loud but what I plan to do is—say, at 26, I’m done retired and boxing is all good. You know what I’ll do? If they say, ‘Okay, you’ve beaten everybody in the ring, right?’ But somebody goes, ‘This ain’t real fighting. Real fighting is legs, choking, submission, all that.’ Guess what I’ll do? I’ll go prove to them that I’m the best fighter all around in the world. I’m talking about hands, I’m talking about wrestling. I will go to MMA to prove a point that God is greatest and I’ll beat whoever in MMA that they say I won’t beat. If it has to be Conor McGregor, I will. And I’m not saying this to get money. I don’t care about money. I’m saying this because that’s just how I feel.”
He’s still got a couple years to go before its time for the rubber to meet the road, but it at least appears that Garcia is still interested in making good on his proclamation. In a recent video uploaded to the Gracie Breakdown YouTube channel, Rener Gracie walked Garcia through his first BJJ class. Check out some highlights from the lesson below.
For the moment, Garcia’s focus is still firmly on his boxing career. Unbeaten at 23-0, ‘KingRy’ is expected to compete in a 136 lb. catchweight bout against WBA lightweight champion Gervonta Davis on April 15th. There won’t be any titles on the line for the bout, with Garcia otherwise competing in the 140 lb. light welterweight division in the future.
Even if fans can’t expect to see him in the Octagon anytime soon, it seems like Garcia is laying the groundwork for some exciting moves somewhere further down the line.