The masked wrestler “Sexy Star” is going by a different name now. Her real name, in fact.
Dulce García, one of the most well-known luchadoras of the 21st century, is set to make the jump from professional wrestling to mixed martial arts in a 118-pound catchweight fight on Combate Americas upcoming Combate Estrellas card this Friday.
While this isn’t her first foray into combat sports, as she currently holds a professional boxing record of 5-0, it will mark her introduction into the world of four-ounce gloves.
But how did this come about? Why make the jump to another sport after finding so much success in wrestling and boxing? For García, all it took was a meeting with Combate president and fellow pro wrestler Alberto El Patrón — formerly known as WWE’s Alberto Del Rio — to make it a reality.
“I’ve had a good friendship with Alberto for many years through wrestling,” García said through a translator. “When I got the itch to jump over from boxing and wrestling to mixed martial arts, that’s when I sought him out to talk and see if they could help make this dream real with Combate.”
According to García, the move to MMA was a natural transition at this point in her career. However, she has no intention of leaving professional wrestling or boxing behind. In fact, as a multiple-time champion in Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, as well as becoming first woman to win the Lucha Underground Championship, García hopes to add a new title to her collection soon.
“I want to continue with the three disciplines, because I believe that in one way or another they go hand in hand, and well the plan and idea would be to do all three,” García said. “But, of course I’m taking this step [towards the championship] because, truthfully, I want to be something big and being champion would be fulfilling a dream, right? We are working towards [the championship]. In all honesty, I feel strong enough to have a variety of fights and if at any moment I get the chance to fight for the belt, why not go for it? This is the first step to have my dream come true.”
García will join the recent ranks of CM Punk and Brock Lesnar as former wrestlers turned MMA fighters. Lesnar brought with him a stellar college wrestling résumé, which included an NCAA National Championship, and only needed a handful of fights before winning the UFC heavyweight championship. Punk, real name Phil Brooks, on the other hand, has yet to taste victory inside the cage.
So, how soon can fans realistically expect García to add her name into the title picture? For García, the time is now.
“In truth I think that depends on the company,” García said. “I believe nowadays the fighters prepare so that when the opportunity comes, they can do it. I’ve seen women fighters that have had five, six fights and they get crowned champs. But, I have also seen fighters going through 20, 30 fights before they become champs. But I’m ready now.”
Standing opposite her in “La Jaula” will be fellow MMA debutante Mariana Ruiz Avila. Fighting out of San Diego, Avila has one amateur fight under her belt, where fans saw her finished early in the second round in August 2018. While García recognizes her boxing career could give her an edge over some women, she recognizes the threat Avila presents once the cage door closes.
“No, it’s the other way around,” García said when asked if she considered herself the favorite. “She has the advantage because she’s the one that has gotten into the cage and she’s also got a lot of experience on the mat. So, the advantage is hers. It’s why we have prepared so much, to prove that [her experience] is not something will stop me from coming out with my fist held in the air that day.”
Aside from the many titles García won as a masked luchadora, her reputation among the wrestling community took a major hit in 2017 when fans saw her injure the wrestler known as Rosemary with a legitimate armbar during a match at Triplemania XXV. Following the incident, García lost several bookings while seeing dozens of performers lambast her actions. As a result, AAA stripped her of the Reina de Reinas Championship, leaving her future in wrestling uncertain.
With this incident behind her, García hopes fight fans come to respect her skill set and acknowledge her quest into this new world of fighting.
“[What I want them to know is] exactly what they are going to see the day of my debut in the cage,” García said. “To show them that all the support from people in the other two disciplines has driven me to take this next step. They will see the same women they’ve seen in wrestling and in boxing: a woman at war who doesn’t surrender and pushes forward.”
García will make her debut in her hometown of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico on Friday, April 12.