After a six-year Zuffa tenure that saw him compete 17 times in both the UFC and WEC, Leonard Garcia has been released from his UFC contract.
MMA Fighting confirmed the cut with Garcia's management team on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old spent much of his last few years fighting to hold on to his job, but managed to secure numerous chances due to a crowd-pleasing style that was heavy on action, though short on defense. The UFC finally pulled the cord after Garcia struggled badly against Cody McKenzie, getting overwhelmed on the ground en route to a unanimous decision defeat at UFC 159. His final record in the octagon was 2-7. He found more success in the WEC, where he was 4-3-1.
Dating back to the start of 2009, Garcia (15-11-1) won just three times in 12 fights, and in a curious coincidence, all three of those victories came in disputed split-decisions, including a 2010 win over Chan Sung Jung which garnered consideration as Fight of the Year.
In a rematch one year later, Jung submitted Garcia in the second round, becoming the first man ever to successfully finish a UFC fight with a Twister.
That setback was the beginning of the five-fight losing streak that ushered Garcia out of the UFC. That stretch is tied for the second-longest skid in promotional history, tying him with Steve Cantwell. Both Phil Baroni and Elvis Sinosic lost six straight octagon encounters, although those streaks were tallied over two separate tenures in the promotion.
A look at the numbers show Garcia's major issues in crafting a winning effort. According to FightMetric, while he landed 2.77 strikes per minute, his opponents were much more successful against him, landing 4.79 times per minute. Eventually, the numbers caught up to him.
He does leave with some good memories, including a TKO win over Jens Pulver in 2008 that propelled him to a featherweight title shot. Two years earlier, in 2007, Garcia took part in a memorable slugfest with Roger Huerta that landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated, though he was mostly obscured by the magazine's title.
Garcia said he hopes to make it back to the octagon in the future, tweeting, "Got let go by UFC, thanks for everything! Ill (sic) be back better then ever!"