Deneve, who’s managed to stop his opponent in the first round every time out, is looking to maintain an impressive 3-0 start to his career, while Garcia is looking to stay hot coming off his first career finish back in March.
When you start your career by finishing all three of your opponents in the first round, anyone who signs up to fight you will likely be patient to begin the contest, and Garcia feels the path to victory against Deneve lies in the mental battle.
“He’s a hard puncher from what I’ve seen. He’s finished all of his opponents in the first round and his power is something I have to always be watching out for,” Garcia said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“He can put my lights out at any moment. I’m going to be super cautious; there’s no room for mistakes with a guy that punches like him. I have to be smart and I can’t get too crazy in the cage. My plan is to use my fight IQ and be the smarter fighter.”
Being a feared power puncher and a quick finisher, however, isn’t something Deneve necessarily aims to be.
He said it’s simply a product of the hard work he puts in at the gym and his great timing inside the cage.
“A lot of people ask me ‘do you purposely go out and try and finish the fight in the first round?’ But I take the shots where I see them, honestly. I respond to my opponents and however they react,” Deneve said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“If it ends in the first round, then that’s great. If it goes onto the third, I’ll finish it there. I can say this, I’ll never let a fight go to decision. Either I’m going to lose or I’m going to win; it’s never going to be a judge’s call.”
Never Say Never
The do-or-die attitude of Deneve stems from his history in pro sports, having spent some time as a motocross rider before chasing his dream of becoming a professional mixed martial artist.
“I do want to fight the best guys, ones that will really give me a challenge. I know that’s what is going to make me better and I want to get to the next level,” Deneve said.
“I know from past experience in pro sports, back when I was racing motocross, one of my biggest mistakes in that sport was always competing with guys who I was better than. In fighting, what I’m changing is I’m training with people who can push me even more. Moving forward, I want fights that I can really grow from.”
Deneve views fighting as an avenue to spread a positive message. There’s a lot of negativity in the world, and he wants to share a message to inspire people.
One of Deneve’s biggest messages is the most important battle in any competition is always the one with yourself.
“I honestly look at all my opponents kind of the same. My biggest opponent is myself,” Deneve said.
“I admire all guys that are willing to get into the ring. He’s got his own demons to face and, as weird as it might sound, I think the one who’s able to defeat their own demons is going to be the one that comes out on top. I’m looking forward to facing him; I think he’s going to be a good opponent. But at the end of the day, I have to focus on myself.”
Sticking to The Process
When it comes to training, neither fighter lacks the work ethic to make it to the next level and achieve the dream of becoming a professional fighter.
Garcia could see himself turning professional after four or five more fights and he realizes he needs to have all areas of his game sharp to make the jump up to stiffer competition.
“I’ve been training everyday to improve everything. I’m an amateur still, obviously, so I’m always just trying to get better in all areas of MMA,” Garcia said.
“I like to take it fight-by-fight, and everything has been coming along well so far.”
For Deneve, a near-perfect start to his young career has put the jump to professional on the radar of his coaches and sparring partners, as well as himself.
“It’s definitely been talked about, especially with my trainers and stuff. A lot of guys that I spar with think I’m pro already,” Deneve said.
“I’m definitely working on it. Mentally and physically I’m there, but I just need my skills sharp enough to be there. There’s so many things you can learn in the fight game and I want to make sure I have a well-rounded arsenal.”
Both competitors have been putting the time in at the gym and are more than prepared to step into the cage and do battle on Friday night in Fort McMurray.
Garcia will be looking to string two finishes in a row, while Deneve is confident he can maintain his perfect record.
“My mentality is a lot stronger, and my speed and IQ have improved,” Deneve said.
“I’ve been sparring with some really high-level fighters, so I’ve been learning tons. I’m pretty confident, and I know going into this fight I’m more than prepared, and it’s going to be good.”