Browsing through the vast pool of talent that the internet offers, I came across Alyssa Garcia of Tillis BJJ. Alyssa is a 3-0 Amatuer MMA fighter out of Whittier, California and has set very high expectations for herself in this sport. Alyssa is currently 20 years old and plans to make it big in MMA, she is definitely a Fighter On The Rise!
Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up and what was life like growing up? (Family, school, friends)
I grew up in Whittier, mostly. We moved a few times from LA to Downey, then to Whittier. Growing up was rough, but never a dull moment. I had a very fun and memorable child-hood.
Were you involved in any sports as a youth in or outside of school?
I did basketball, volleyball, swimming, water-polo, and cheerleading. Basketball was my most involved sport until highschool and then I joined wrestling.
What is your favorite child-hood memory?
My favorite childhood memory would have to be me and my father playing swat with those little smoke balls into this little play house we had, my dad kept me home because I was "sick" and we just played all day.
Any interesting child-hood stories and/or fun facts?
Well, I can't think of anything too interesting, but I was the biggest tomboy as a kid. I always tried to be like my brother… I wore my caps backwards, played and wore everything star wars, and always ran around with the boys!
Getting involved in MMA:
How did you get involved?
After wrestling, I went to Cerritos Community College and wrestled for a semester, but my sholders were giving out and my brother always said that I should fight and after watching his first fight I knew I wanted to at least try it!
…So i quit wrestling and went for it.
What was that hardest part for you in the early stages and care to share a bit about your early experiences learning the sport(s)?
NOT EATING BAD! Showing up and training is the hard part, but once you get in a groove, it becomes hard to NOT show up.. Especially if you have an awesome team and coaches! It was rough at first, no one likes getting punched in the face, but that's what you need to prepare for. It's a complicated sport, there's a lot going on. It takes a lot more thinking than people think. I also needed to learn Jiu Jitsu, which believe it or not was pretty frustrating. It has a lot of similarities to wrestling, but quite a few differences and that really frustrated me.
At what point did you know you were ready to step in the cage for the first time?
To be honest, I didn't know I was ready. I really didn't know what to expect. I really just told myself it's just a fight and I can't see a girl my size beat me up!
When the cage locked behind you in your first fight, can you recall what what through your mind? How did your first fight turn out?
My family. I didn't want to lose in front of my sister or brother. I won by unanimous decision!
What are 3 things you've learned while being involved in this sport?
1 – YOU CANNOT TRAIN HALF-ASS!!!!
2 – You have to be willing to sacrifice a lot
3 – Learning HOW to cut weight is important.
What gym are you currently fighting out of?
I fight out of the absolutely incredible Tillis Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / MMA academy.
What is your current record (ammy/pro) and at what weight?
Ammy: 3-0. I've fought at 115 my first fight, 110 my second, and 108lbs in my third fight.
Do you currently have a nickname in this sport? If so, what is it and why?
Tiny Tim is my nickname I got in highschool. I had a little pixie haircut and had dislocated my knee and only walked with one crutch because of my shoulder… so all my coaches and teamates swore I looked like Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol …and it just stuck.
If you could improve one aspect of your game, what would it be and why?
I would want to improve my standup, it's not bad but I would like it to be as great and my bottom game.
What is your most memorable experience as an MMA fighter?
My most memorable experience is hard to say; getting my hand raised, getting the blessing of my coaches after a win (haha), and the excitement from my brother and sister after a win, it feels great to make them proud.
Any interesting stories to share or learning experiences whilst fighting you would like to share?
Something I've learned while fighting is that your body can take a lot. It's your mind that gets tired. Pushing through those negative thoughts can really sculpt you as an athlete!
If you could offer one bit of advice to an aspiring fighter what would it be?
Dont quit because it's frustrating or hard, you're going to have those off and shitty days at training, but go to bed wake up and train again.
Would you like to give a shout out to any sponsors individuals who have supported you?
My biggest shoutout to my coaches Noah Tillis and Jason Buzzard and Teamates Abel, Josh, Vinny, Jay, and everyone who helps me prepare
for my fights. I'm very fortunate to be apart of this team we really are family my coach has taught me so much and put so much time into training me. I couldn't thank Noah enough. Also, my brother for always pushing me and my sister for always being there for me!
What are your goals for the future in the sport?
I plan on being the Champ. I plan to be the best!
What are your thoughts on the current state of the sport and where it's headed?
For women, the sport is growing constantly!
If you could change one thing in the sport, what would it be?
I'm not to sure really can't think of anything to change about the sport… But, I really would like to head-butt someone, take it back to the Pride days! (lol)
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Defending a championship, making a name for myself as a fighter, and hopefully have my BA in Psychology.
My pops ribs, mini corn dogs, Mac n Cheese, and Pasta.
Favorite type of Music:
I love classic rock, punk, ska, everything but country and techno.
I'm a huge movie fan so this probably is the toughest question. The Untouchables, Goodfellas, Tombstone, Blazing Saddles …the list goes on. Any old Gangster or western I'll watch… OR anything from Mel Brooks!
Favorite TV Show:
I loved Breaking Bad and Lost!!!!!
"At some point your memories, your stories, your adventures will be the only thing you'll have left" // "Though she be but little, she is fierce!"
Do you have any children? Do you plan on having any/more?:
I don't have any kids, and I don't plan on it anytime soon.
Best day of your life:
My best day of my life is when my pops took me to the Aquarium and the Zoo in one day for my 10th birthday! I'll never forget that day, he didn't even tell my mom he took me out of school…rebels!
Interesting/Unknown Fact about yourself:
A lot of people have no idea that I fight, but even less people know I love to read books and write. I love writing!
I love to write, I wrote a screenplay and plan on making it into an independent film.
Who is your favorite super hero and why?
Iron Man but only because Robert Downey Jr is sexy.
Facebook Page/Fan Page: Alyssa Garcia
Manager Contact (for sponsorship/fight inquiries): Noah Tillis (562)631-2408
Email Address: Lissypie67@yahoo