IAN GARRY insists it’s ‘good’ to be compared to the greatest MMA fighter of all time – but the latest Irish UFC prospect plans to show the world he’s much more than the “Next Conor McGregor”.
The brightest prospect from the Emerald Isle will make his highly anticipated UFC debut early Sunday morning on a stacked card at Madison Square Garden.
Hailing from Dublin and being a confident and precise striker, Garry has inevitably been compared to The Notorious – a fighter he holds in the highest regard.
The Future told SunSport: “I totally understand where people are coming from in the sense that ‘Oh, this is the next Conor McGregor. ”
“But that’s only because I’m from Dublin, Ireland. That’s literally it.
“You don’t say that about all the Americans coming in. You know what I mean? Who’s fighting. It’s, ‘Oh, he’s trying to be the next big thing. “
“There was a Conor and he made the most in the UFC in popularity, money, was drawn to [the sport].
“It’s no secret that Conor had the most effect on the UFC. He got the most looks, he did the most shows.
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“I think four of the top five pay-per-views are Conor’s. The man is crazy. What he did was amazing.
“And everyone’s like, ‘Oh, they want to find the next Conor. They are dying to find the next Conor.’ If people want to say I’m the next Conor, fine, I don’t mind.
“But don’t get me wrong, I have my plan, I have my goals. I know what’s coming.
“But if people want to compare me to someone who has had the biggest effect and the biggest change in the sport when it comes to just taking a look at it, I don’t mind being that guy.
“And I don’t mind if I they [want me to] be the poster boy and they’re looking for someone to do a role as one. “
Much like McGregor did in his legendary featherweight race, Garry has no doubt in his mind that he will reach the pinnacle of mixed martial arts.
He said, “I know the level I’m going to reach. So I want to go there and do a show every time.
“Because maybe some people have seen me beat myself before, maybe they haven’t seen me beat myself before.
“But I want to go out there and give 110% every time so that I never disappoint myself and the people who came to pay [to see me]. “
Long before dropping out of school to pursue his dream of fighting in the UFC, Garry was confident he would make it to the promised land of mixed martial arts.
This confidence, however, was not shared by his mother – who wrote him a letter questioning his lofty aspirations.
But the excitement of the Garry family, including mother, is palpable before Sunday morning.
The Sanford MMA newborn said: “They knew once I thought about it what I was going to do and where I was going to go.
“Once I think about something, it’s done. I’ll make sure I do it. That’s how I am. They’ve been behind me and they’ve been excited for every fight since. “
He added, “They’re super excited. They’re obviously pissed that they can’t be here in New York.”
Garry called his shot at the big time long before he got his hands on Cage Warriors gold, but even he was surprised that the UFC’s call – which came hours after beating Jake Grant to claim the 170 pound strap – arrived so quickly.
He admitted: “I didn’t think it would be that fast. I just won a world title and now the next morning I wake up, I’m at the airport in a wheelchair because my knees hurt.
“And now I got a UFC contract sent to me. I was like, ‘Ohh, this is sick.’ It was so overwhelming.
Aside from the shock of the quick call, Garry firmly believes it belongs to the big time.
He said: “It’s good, it’s okay. Like I should be here. But I also worked hard to get here.
“It has been years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication to get there.
“Be among the one percent of the one percent who sign to the UFC and fight on the Madison Square Garden map.
“I’m obviously very grateful to the UFC, who obviously believed in me and put me on this card and saw my talent and my skills and I said ‘Okay, that kid can be something special ‘and put me on this card because of that.
“But that’s also a case where I got it right. If they put me on that map, my whole career has obviously been good. And I’m really, really excited for this weekend, man.”
Between Garry and a successful debut in the world’s most famous arena is Jordan Williams, a former Dana White’s Contender series, who will have a point to prove after back-to-back losses.
While Williams’ job is potentially on the line, Garry doesn’t expect him to bring all the guns to the Garden.
He said of the American’s losing streak: “I think that might make him a little more conservative.
“If this is your last potential UFC fight, you’d assume someone would go out of their way to make sure they’re going to swing and get a knockout.
“But that’s also how you get knocked out. Go in and hit hard, try to knock someone out – wire everything. That’s how you get knocked out.
“If it was in me and I was in it, I would like to win the heats.
“I would like to shoot someone down, controlling him becomes the best [position], win the round and guarantee a victory and come back to a victory column.
“But I’m never going to have to be in that position because I’m going to go out there and beat everyone and do it with ease.”
The eyes of the mixed martial arts world – especially the European sphere – will be firmly on the preliminaries of UFC 268 to see if Garry can usher in a new era of Irish MMA in combat sports’ most iconic arena.
And he intends to do it the only way he knows how – categorically.
He added: “[It’s gonna be a] Knock out. A nice coup de grace. I think it will come late in the first round. I think that’s going to be a big statement. “
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