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UFC 268: Meet the Irishman Aspiring to Be the Next Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor planted an acorn in Madison Square Garden five years ago, and now the beginnings of a mighty oak tree are taking shape in Irish mixed martial arts.

It was always inevitable. McGregor’s grand triumph on November 12, 2016, in which he became the first double champion in UFC history, would set off a wave of budding Irish fighters seeking to emulate their compatriot’s journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the bright lights of the UFC.

But for Ian Garry’s mother, the idea of ​​her son being swept up in McGregor’s mania didn’t sit well with her, and she explained her feelings to her ambitious son in a letter, pleading with him not to engage in mixed martial arts. .

Conor McGregor's huge success in the UFC has inspired a new wave of fighters from Ireland

Conor McGregor’s huge success in the UFC has inspired a new wave of fighters from Ireland

“Ian, taking a year to figure out what you’re going to do is stupid,” Garry’s mother said. warned his 19-year-old son as he chose to snub college to risk his arm in combat sports.

‘I will not support someone who surrenders himself and takes the easy path. Being the next Conor McGregor is not a fucking plan!

What has followed is nothing short of an extraordinary trip to the greatest stage MMA has to offer: the UFC.

Garry’s record of seven wins and no losses has sparked a stir around the Dubliner nicknamed ‘The Future’, with many expecting the 23-year-old to be Ireland’s first MMA superstar in the post-McGregor era. .

Ian Garry (right) met McGregor (left) in 2014 and was inspired to pursue mixed martial arts.

Ian Garry (right) met McGregor (left) in 2014 and was inspired to pursue mixed martial arts.

Ian Garry (right) met McGregor (left) in 2014 and was inspired to pursue mixed martial arts.

And for good reason too. The welterweight is a dangerous forward, whose maturity within the Octagon defies his tender years.

The future boasts a variety of devastating weapons and has brought down a handful of opponents with thunderous kicks to back up its heavy combinations.

He also has the skills to mix things up, as he subdued Mateusz Figlak in his second pro fight and put Jack Grant in real danger on the ground during their Cage Warriors title fight earlier this year.

Coming to the UFC is the ambition of a variety of talents from around the world, but Garry isn’t content to rest on his laurels after winning his big move.

The 23-year-old left Ireland for Florida, where he joined the renowned Sanford MMA gym, the home of players like Michael Chandler, Robbie Lawlor and Vincente Luque.

Garry has come to the UFC and has been told to emulate McGregor and achieve stardom.

Garry has come to the UFC and has been told to emulate McGregor and achieve stardom.

Garry has come to the UFC and has been told to emulate McGregor and achieve stardom.

More pertinently, Garry will have the sage advice in his corner that can help him transition from Cage Warriors to the UFC.

Legendary trainer Henri Hooft will be in his corner for Saturday’s fight against Jordan Williams. Hooft has brought Kamaru Usman, Luke Rockhold, and Rashad Evans to the UFC championships, and he hopes to add Garry to his roster of champions.

‘The move has been really easy,’ said Garry talkSPORT. “They have welcomed me with open arms on the mats, the coaches, the teammates have been incredible.

“I have already learned a lot and can already see the potential for so much more.

‘The guys around me here are the elite of the elite, so it will only benefit me to throw myself into the fire with the best UFC guys and the best Bellator guys, just some of the best fighters on the planet.

“Also, if you look at the coaching staff, they are elite and they are absolutely incredible, and just catching small and small technical adjustments that can change my game and improve it is incredible.”

We’ve had some great UFC debuts in the past year, with Khamzat Chimaev and Paddy Pimblett establishing themselves as emerging fan favorites with sensational performances inside the Octagon.

And Garry enjoys the pressure put on his shoulders, insisting that he won’t buckle under the weight of expectations as he embarks on his journey to the UFC.

I accept the pressure, any hype about me is there for a reason, it is there because I have appeared every time, I have endorsed what I have said, I have put on a show and I have made a statement and now I have this. hype behind me.

‘The hype or the pressure doesn’t bother me. If someone tells you that Ian Garry is a savage, I probably went back to where I started, I was probably the one who started it.

Under the bright lights of Maddison Square Garden, The Future is committed to making its mark on the biggest stage.

What better place to make a statement than the headquarters of Ireland’s greatest MMA feat.

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