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The proposed Irish MMA – or more specifically UFC – invasion during the mid-2010’s never quite came to fruition. The rapid ascent of Conor McGregor up the UFC rankings as well as the success of Irish/Straight Blast Gym fighters at UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Diego Brandão in Dublin got a lot of people very excited about the future of MMA in Ireland. McGregor’s exclamation of “we’re not here to take part, we’re here to take over” at the same event did nothing to calm the hype train, either.
It’s now 7 years after that event and it’s safe to say that there was no take over. Of course, you have the obvious success of Conor McGregor who famously went on to knock out the phenomenal José Aldo in just 13 seconds to win the UFC Featherweight Championship. After that, he became the first fighter to hold UFC titles in multiple divisions at the same time after defeating Eddie Alvarez to win the Lightweight Championship. Other than McGregor though, none of his compatriots would go on to leave a lasting legacy in the MMA world.
That’s not to say that the future of Irish MMA is bleak, though. In fact, there’s a number of Irish fighters coming through that we could be hearing a lot more about in the not-so-distant future. James Gallagher, Dean Barry and Leah McCourt are just some examples that spring to mind.
The most promising of the lot, though, could be welterweight Ian Garry. The Dubliner currently competes in Irish promotion Cage Warriors where he holds a record of 6-0 and is aptly nicknamed “The Future”.
Of his professional MMA bouts, Garry has finished all but one of his opponents. His most impressive performance coming in his last fight against UFC alumnus Rostem Akman on the 19th March where he delivered a devastating head-kick KO to the Swede in the second round of the fight.
Beaut of a finish by “The Future” @iangarryMMA pic.twitter.com/mGjYCG1XP1
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) MARCH 19, 2021
“UFC, I’m coming,” shouted Garry at the camera after the finish, showing his high levels of confidence – that’s not at all misplaced.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR IAN GARRY?
The UFC is clearly Garry’s long-term goal. However, he remains at Cage Warriors for the time being and his next bout will be the biggest of his career to date. He’s scheduled to fight Englishman Jack Grant (17-6) in June for the vacant Cage Warrior’s Welterweight Belt.
If Garry does manage to win the belt, it’ll be very hard for the UFC to ignore.
Whether he’s awarded a contract immediately or given a shot at Dana White’s Contender Series, there’s every chance we could see Ian Garry competing in the UFC very soon.
It’s all smiles… for now. Ian Garry vs Jack Grant is your Welterweight Title tournament final.🔥 pic.twitter.com/YdRG6e4I9b
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) MARCH 22, 2021