Tipped by Michael Chandler and Daniel Cormier to be a future UFC champion, Ian Garry made his highly anticipated UFC debut in November, stopping Jordan Williams in the first round.
In front of a packed Madison Square Garden at UFC 268, the Irishman got the finish he was hoping for – a knockout in round one – but was far from happy with his overall performance.
Garry put Williams to sleep in NovemberGETTY
“The outcome was great but the performance wasn’t good, but I can’t beat myself up over it,” Garry said.
“The fight itself wasn’t a problem, but it was like being in a video game where you take a kid and put them into their dream, a dream they wish they always wanted to be in, that’s where I was when Bruce Buffer was calling my name. I felt overwhelmed and grateful to be where I was, and that took me off my mindset and that’s never going to happen again.
“I’m not going to be annoyed at myself for that but I need to be ready to be able to flick that switch and not let anything affect me, and it was the first time I’ve ever been affected. It was a bit sloppy; it took a bit of time to get my distance, but when I did everything started to flow, he tried to take me down, he slipped and fell on a single leg against the cage, from that moment on the fight was mine. The first minute and half he got the better of me, but he still didn’t make it out of the first round.”
Garry is no stranger to pressure, having already had a Cage Warriors world title wrapped around his waist at just 23 years of age, along with constantly being dubbed the next big fighter to emerge from Ireland since Conor McGregor. Still, that didn’t mean there were no nerves.
“It was the biggest UFC card of the year at MSG, I’m the 10th youngest fighter on the UFC roster, I’m the youngest undefeated fighter on the UFC roster. I had a lot of hype going into that fight and that hype was well deserved and well earned.
Nothing makes a statement better than a first round KOGETTY Garry is following in McGregor’s footsteps and hopes to be on the same card as him in the UFC
“Everyone was talking about me; I did an insane number of interviews. There was a lot riding on that win and that didn’t bother me, it was just a sense of being overwhelmed and grateful and gratitude in getting to this point knowing I’m the elite of the elite, and it took a while to sink in and that’s okay.
“But 100 per cent the next performance will be better; every performance is going to be better and that’s the way I always want it. At the end of the day my last performance wasn’t great, but the finish was massive, it was clinical, powerful. In five years when I’m at the top of the division fighting the top 10, nobody will be saying ‘in his first fight he felt a bit of nerves’ they will remember the finish.”
Garry also admitted he was not 100 per cent going into UFC 268 before explaining when he could be back in action.
“Without going into much detail, I actually had to get surgery on my leg that night. I couldn’t walk that morning and I said to my fiancée if I can’t kick, I may have to call the fight. I did some stretching, the kicks felt stiff, but I could kick so I said let’s go with it. I just couldn’t pull out with an injury.
“I was conscious I wasn’t going into the fight 100 per cent, but again I can only get better. If I can walk, I’ll go to that cage. There is something about the adrenaline of fight, it’s an adrenaline that can drive a camp.
Steps back. Launches that bomb. Ian Garry via KO R1 #UFC268 pic.twitter.com/eiMKGskonQ
— MMA mania (@mmamania) November 6, 2021
“Ideally I would like to spend sometime with my new coaches and tweak some of my skill sets. I want to spend a lot of time with Greg Jones and work on my wrestling. I want to spend sometime with Henri and fix bits of my striking, I want to improve my Brazilian jujitsu. I want to gain more knowledge in all areas because the more knowledge I have, the more time I spend with these coaches the better I will be next time I step inside that cage. So, next fight I would like would be April.
“The biggest thing me and Henri have speaking about is there isn’t a better gym on the planet then Sanford MMA if you’re a welterweight. In the middle of January, the talent we will have here, the best of the best.”
Post-fight Garry told commentator Joe Rogan this was the beginning of the takeover part two, and although Garry ruled out performing on a UFC Dublin card with his McGregor, he admitted the UFC would be insane not to book them both on a Las Vegas or New York card.
“Conor’s got the power to do a lot of things and he gets a lot of eyes and a lot of attention more than anyone who’s been in the sport. It is going to take someone special to replicate that. I don’t see the need to put me and Conor on the same card in Dublin, if they want to put us on the same card why not do Las Vegas, why not New York and we can bring all the Irish over with us and show their support in a different country, that’s what the takeover is, where we go, they follow.
“I just think seeing all Irish flags down the Vegas strip is only good energy. I hope they do it, I look forward to Conor’s return, I hope to share a card with him. I think the UFC would be absolutely mad not to do it.”