By Caoilte de Barra
Raquel Gonzalez Garcia is Spain’s final athlete left in the competition following some spectacular performances that saw her earn a shot at becoming a world champion. She is now on the brink of making history for Spain by becoming the nation’s first amateur world champion.
“It’s been amazing.” she began. I can’t believe it. I’m so happy, I was thinking about it for a long time, and now I made it.”
However, it has not been plain sailing for Garcia in MMA. She lost her first four bouts and had not progressed past the first round in either of the previous IMMAF tournaments that she entered.
“I lost my first four fights by decision. Everyone said that I did really well, but in the end, I lost. But I trusted the process. I knew that it would take time. I like to do things smoothly, step by step, and the key was never giving up. I knew my time would come, and I’m happy about that. I’m happy for being patient, learning the fundamentals and step-by-step learning how to compete and what things work for me. When you start, you don’t know anything. So I just need time to know myself better. And yeah, that’s what I’m doing with every fight.”
Since snapping the streak of losses, the Fantom MMA athlete believes it helped bring back that self-belief. A key difference was when she began to train with the competition team in her gym in Ireland.
“I felt like a big change when I started to train with a competition team in Ireland. I have a mix of [training partners] from all over the world, Spanish, Irish, Polish, and Moldovans and step by step I started to feel more confident with my grappling. I’m a grappler. I know my striking has to improve, but that makes me feel confident, and I trust my game.”
Her move to Ireland was for professional reasons after completing some time there as a student.
“I had an Erasmus grant after my masters, and I always want to improve my English, so Ireland was always in my mind. I moved with this grant, but the first thing I did was look for an MMA team.”
“So now I’m really happy. I have my professional life in Ireland. And at the same time, I’m training in a competition team.”
Raquel Gonzalez Garcia has been one of the best stories of the 2022 World Championships and is one step away from glory. Her final bout of the tournament will take place on Friday, February 17, against Australia’s Faine Mesquita Pereira.