An Interview with Cage Warriors Prospect Ian ‘The Future’ Garry
By Dan McConnell
Ian Garry is a 21-year old Irish mixed martial artist from Dublin Ireland and is currently signed with the Cage Warriors promotion.
Ahead of the organisations return to Ireland this November, I caught up with the newly signed welterweight ahead of his third professional fight.
Ian was a pleasure to interview and you could tell from his tone of voice that he is only in the fight game to get to the top of the sport. Money and fame’s something that can take over a fighter’s career once they turn professional, especially after a long and under-paid amateur career. Ian Garry isn’t bothered about either, his laser focus is in making it to the top.
Looking back at Ian’s amateur career he went 5-1 and fought for Clan Wars, Cage Legacy among other promotions. As one of the top prospects in Europe right now, I wanted to know what were his experiences in the Irish MMA scene? As I’ve heard many stories that it can be tough to get fights and what was his most memorable moment while on the regional circuit?
“Yeah man my amateur career was great, I would’ve liked it to be a little longer with a couple more fights personally for more self-growth and to improve my skillset. But I don’t know it was just hard to get fights in the Irish scene and it was really annoying, I had people dropping out not making fights. It was really frustrating because it was putting a block on my growth. I was still training hard and improving my skillset but I couldn’t go out and test it. Competition is a must for me and I have to be competing otherwise its pointless. It’s like I need to know the name of the fighter in-front of me to have the right mindset.”
“My most memorable moment in my amateur career was my very first fight, I went in and got a left hook walk away knockout in the first round and I remember the commentators Noel O’Keefe and Phil Campbell screaming ‘ladies and gentlemen, have we seen the future?’. I walked by and went ‘welcome to the new age lads’. So it’s kind of stood the test of time really if you think about it because that was two years ago now in November and I told everyone to watch out as I am the future and its still the exact same.”
Ian now goes by the nickname ‘The Future’ and I’m sure this victory over Audrius Laksa put the fighters name on the map in the amateur scene.
As he progressed through the ranks you can tell why not many wanted to fight him in his early days, and maybe why it’s never been plain sailing when going into a fight camp.
He was recently Europe’s signed to leading MMA organisation Cage Warriors. Obviously as a top prospect he would have had multiple offers, I wanted to know why did he choose Cage Warriors? And what’s his goal in his career, what is it that he wants to accomplish. This is a standard question for any fighter, but I wanted to jump into the thought process and mindset of a young and talent fighter who has the world at his feet.
“Yeah I signed a professional contract with Cage Warriors and it was really the only option I was going to go with, I didn’t care about anywhere else because the only place I want to go is the UFC.
“Cage Warriors have proven time and time again that their the best place on the planet to produce talent to go to the UFC. I think the organisation has nearly produced around 100 fighters to make the move, and that’s ridiculous. CW are the best at what they do, they build talent and have such a good link with the UFC.”
“As Petesy Carroll from MMA Fighting says it’s like a golden ticket into the UFC once you get that belt’. Actually, you don’t even need that belt, for example Mark O’Madsen was 7-0 with the promotion, UFC Copenhagen came around there and he jumped straight it. It only makes sense to as to why I signed with them!”
He went on to say:
“Especially with the people I train with, I train with Cathal Pendred, Chris Fields and James Webb three ex-CW champions. Any person that’s a fighter wants to make it into the UFC, if they don’t then they’re just in it for the money or to just say that they fight. If your serious about this and you want to make something out of the sport, and to be the best, the UFC is the only place to go really.”
Some strong and confident words from the Irish fighter. I can see his point that fighters who sign to Bellator are stopping their growth, your making your hard earn money that is well and truly deserved no doubt, but then blocking any possibly entry into the UFC.
The majority of fighters go from the UFC to Bellator, not the other way around. The Irishman has fought twice under the Cage Warriors banner and came out victorious on both occasions. He recently fought on the CW Unplugged card. I asked him how good was it to get the finish over late replacement Matteo Ceglia in such impressive style? That was a knockout that blew up on social media!
“Yeah I’m 2-0 now, two brilliant fights the first one obviously was a great way to make my debut and I put on a performance against James Sheehan. He’s an absolute dog and gets all my respect for being so tough and then the fight versus Matteo was on short notice, I didn’t really have any clue what he was about when I went in there.
“I was really smart and didn’t rush anything. In the second round I calculated everything and well, you seen the result with that head-kick knockout that was all she wrote! I knew that it was going to come, I picked him apart and just done what I know I can do.”
His next fight is scheduled for the massive Cage Warriors 110 card in Cork. With the promotion coming back to Ireland this is a huge statement from them, I asked what impact does he see this going forward for Irish MMA? And how excited is he to fight at home in Ireland on the same card as his friend Rhys McKee?
“I’m absolutely delighted that Cage Warriors are coming back to Ireland, it’s going to be a massive opportunity for me to show the Irish fan base who I am, it might be a bit more hyped because I’m in Ireland and not over in England. I’m absolutely ecstatic for the card and have been training my ass off. I’m going to go in there and put on a statement to show everyone what I’m all about.”
“In my first fight with them I stepped in on short notice and had to just go in there and fight, my second fight I had to take another short notice fight and had to be more cautious. Hopefully I’m going in there with no opponent change this time so I can show everyone why I am the future.”
“I think this card has a massive impact for Irish MMA because Bellator are coming back but not really doing anything, they’re just putting on gimmick fights and only there to sell tickets. The Irish fans love fighting and they’ll happily go see fights, I mean why wouldn’t you?
“But Cage Warriors are the leading promotion in Europe the ones the real fighters want to fight for and are well connected with the UFC.
“If you go in there and have a good run, there is a high possibility of ending up with the UFC, so its massive for people to get a feel for this card and hopefully the likes of myself Rhys McKee and the other Irish lads are just going to go in there and show why were called the fighting Irish! I can’t make promises for the other lads but I’m definitely going to go in there and put on a show.”
Bellator obviously have shown a massive commitment to Irish MMA but maybe aren’t pushing the boat out as much as the likes of Cage Warriors and Ian later eluded to this in a further question. I asked him what is his favourite thing about the sport of MMA and is there anything he’d change?
“My favourite thing about MMA is probably the friends I’ve made. I never don’t want to go to training I’m always in the mood for going and seeing the lads and having a bit of banter. It’s like you’re going down and learning new skills and techniques, at the end of the day who doesn’t want to punch their friend in the face and get away with it?
“The friends I’ve made from MMA is amazing but my favourite aspect is just like the club I’m in, I love the whole atmosphere and love the way everyone is supportive of each other. Were just one big massive family.”
Obviously as a young mixed martial artist Ian has a burning desire and hunger for the sport. The fact that he spoke so openly to me backed up this point and it was quite refreshing to delve into the thought process of this ‘new age’ as Ian has described himself as. There is something definitely brewing in the water in the Irish MMA scene.
“If I had anything I could change it would be the amount influence of trash talking has on making fights. I’m all about it but you’ve got to earn a fight, the perfect example is that Richard Kiely did not deserve to step in there and fight Michael Venom Page (at Bellator Dublin in September), so the fact he talked a lot of trash and got himself sparked out is a perfect example.
“Fights should make fights not how a fighter talk’s!”
The fighter elaborated:
“I just want it to be fair. I’m all about being marketable if you talk and represent the sport well, your very honourable and respectful and your going in there being a savage. A prefect example would be Cowboy Cerrone, he’s a no nonsense fighter just gets in there gets the job done, everybody loves him win lose or draw and he’s still a fan favourite. He doesn’t need to talk trash. Just fight the person next in line and work your way up, that’s something I would definitely change as well as the weight cutting.”
Considering the UFC, Bellator, PFL, KSW and various other global organisations compared to the ONE Championship and Rizin methods of weight cutting, I asked what does the sport as a whole need to do differently on this issue?
“There needs to be a governing body in that sense (for weight cutting), there needs to be one person looking after all of the organisations. I just don’t understand for example why if I’m cutting from 100kg and I need to make 80 or 90, only to put the bulk of that back on in 24 hours what’s the actual point? It just doesn’t make no sense in my mind! I don’t know if they should bring in a way of not being allowed to go from 5% of your body weight that could be something that could change the game.
“The hardest part of fighting is the weight cutting, if you eliminate that it will make for better fights.”
An issue that has been prevalent in the sport but seems to be one that won’t be solved anytime soon. Weight cutting can be dangerous and put the fighter’s longevity or even life at risk. It has been well documented about the Cris Cyborg weight cut in order to make the 140-pound catchweight limit.
“I have no problem making weight, just If you didn’t cut weight it puts less stress on your body you could fight more regularly. Rather than cutting 10kg, say every 6 or 7 weeks I could fight every month basically with no weight cuts. I would rather fight more regularly and cut less weight. But I’m not moving up to 84kg where the lads are cutting from 95kg, I’m just not doing that.”
The middleweight prospect will fight in only his third professional bout in November. I asked If he had a dream fight who would he matchup against and why?
“If I could have any dream opponent, I would love to fight the likes of Nate Diaz or Mike Perry their just absolute gangsters, even Masvidal as well. Their all about let’s go in there and put a show on for the fans and enjoy it. I’d love to fight Colby Covington I’d love to thump him around! But yeah, at the moment it would probably be one of them, but I don’t really care about anyone else I just look at me and enjoy fights as a fight fan.
“I only look at possibly opponents in CW as their all realistic to me right now.”
Ian Garry will step inside the Cage Warriors cage for the third time at CW 110 on November the 9th, his opponent yet to be announced.
The Irish MMA scene is one that was a sleeping giant for a number of years after UFC Dublin in 2014, headlined by Conor McGregor of course. As they say there is no crowd better than the Irish fans who have a rich history of fighting whether it’s in the Irish boxing setup or social and economic issues. There is no doubt that Ian Garry is one but many fighters who are on a collision course to reach the pinnacle of the sport.