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Ian Garry of Ireland punches Song Kenan of China in a welterweight fight during the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Ian Machado Garry Is Inevitable

The Undefeated 25-Year-Old Irishman Sees All His Dreams In His Grasp, And He Is Buzzing To Impress A Worldwide Audience At UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Almeida

Ian Machado Garry feels like he is inevitable – so much so that he has it tattooed on his rib cage. What the undefeated 25-year-old is not, however, is in a rush. He never has been. For as boisterous, brash and confident as he comes off in interviews (on his UFC.com athlete profile, he lists “ego” as his biggest strength), Machado Garry is loudly humble, as well. He believes he’ll achieve incredible things in the Octagon, but he understands the work that claim requires and that he isn’t there just yet. 

Through four trips to the Octagon, Machado Garry has largely aced the tests put ahead of him, and his last performance was perhaps his most impressive. Fighting Song Kenan at UFC 285 (Garry’s fourth consecutive pay-per-view appearance), Machado Garry got his first taste of real adversity when Song dropped him with a picturesque left hook in the first round. He survived the round, regained his composure, and got back to roundly dominating the fight en route to a flurry in the third round that ended the fight in the last minute. 

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Machado Garry had a good laugh about it afterward and copped to the mistake he made in throwing the left hook to the body that led to him getting countered and rocked. While he is certain he won’t make that same mistake again and prides himself on not needing to learn a lesson twice, he does enjoy the fact that future opponents might try to use that moment to investigate a potential crack in his armor. 

“I've given them all that thing to latch on to,” Machado Garry told UFC.com. “(They’re) saying that (I) got dropped by a scrub. (I’m) like ‘You're not going to land that shot. You're not going to. I'm not going to be there with you.’ I made a mistake. If you watch the rest of the fight, I didn't get touched. I always count on myself being elusive, and I made an error, and it made me not, and I got caught, so I have to make sure that I'm on every second of the fight.”

Ian Garry of Ireland punches Song Kenan of China in a welterweight fight during the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Ian Garry of Ireland punches Song Kenan of China in a welterweight fight during the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Getting past that lesson was a crucial part to his growth as a future contender, and keeping his unblemished record is a nice feather in the Irishman’s cap. After the fight, he and his wife Layla returned to the UK in part to renew his visa. While he was there, he booked his upcoming fight against Daniel Rodriguez, so to get his training camp started, he went over to Team Renegade in Birmingham – home of welterweight champion Leon Edwards, as well as Arnold Allen and Jai Herbert. 

There, Machado Garry got some different looks on the feet as well as some tips on his grappling game via UFC veteran Tom Breese. The time spent with Edwards was particularly valuable, or as Machado Garry put it, “f***ing cool.” 

“It was just nice to be able to chat to him and talk to him and pick some pieces from his game and try and add them to mine because he's clearly having success,” Machado Garry said. “Why not learn and try take something that he's doing correct and add it to my game? That's developing a skill set and developing a game around the guys that are the best in the sport.”

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There is the tricky conundrum of competing in the same weight class of someone Machado Garry considers a friend now, but he brushes that problem off rather quickly, pointing to the situation with Aljamain Sterling and Merab Dvalshvili, who refuse to fight one another despite their status as champion and No. 1 contender, respectively. 

“To be able to train with Leon is far more valuable and important to me than inevitably fighting him,” Machado Garry said “That's the growth. That's where I'm able to ask, ‘How do you deal with this shot and what angles do you make?’ It's little things that the elite-level athletes understand and can help and pick up off each other. I would much rather learn off him and have that ability in our friendship than ever worry about a fight with him.”

Machado Garry added that he would “absolutely” like to return to Team Renegade in the future, but eventually, he made his way back to Florida to train with the crew at Kill Cliff FC, which has been his home for the last couple of years. There, he prepped for his first crack at the Top 15 in the form of Rodriguez.

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Rodriguez broke through to the UFC with a submission win over Tim Means in his debut, and since then, he has been a bit of a dark horse presence at 170 pounds. Through his first eight fights, Rodriguez won seven times, including decision victories over Mike Perry, Kevin Lee and Li Jingliang, and he’s eager to bounce back from a submission loss to Neil Magny he suffered in November 2022.

“I think he is the perfect opponent for me to showcase to the world how good I am at what I do,” Machado Garry said. “He's a striker. I'm a striker. Cool. Let's go out there, and let's show the people that you are not on my level. You're the 15th ranked guy in the world. Let me go out there. Let me stop you. Let me finish you. Let me do it beautifully and violently and prove that I'm the best, and I'm one of the best in the world, that I have achieved being one of the top 15 guys on the planet at 25 years of age, and then it's on to a f**king hell of a run from there.”

Describing Rodriguez as “bog standard,” which essentially translates to “nothing special” for those of us not familiar with Irish slang, Machado Garry believes Rodriguez is only considered a step up in competition because of the number next to his name. 

He appreciates that number, though, because it only increases the level of opportunity at hand just 12 fights into his professional career.

Ian Garry of Ireland celebrates his win over Song Kenan of China in a welterweight fight during the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Ian Garry of Ireland celebrates his win over Song Kenan of China in a welterweight fight during the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“I look forward to him figuring it out and seeing in his eyes in that Octagon when he goes, ‘Oh, f**k.’” Machado Garry said. “I’ll know after the first couple of shots that he's f**ked, and he'll know because I'll see it in his eyes. They say the eyes never lie, and when I hit him a couple of times - I stand there and the first thing I do is whack a jab straight in his face and his head snaps back, and then a kick follows, he's going to go, ‘F**k, I made a mistake.’”

Another aspect of the fight invigorating Machado Garry is the fact that he is fighting on ABC instead of a pay-per-view event. 

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While most fighters want to get on those numbered cards because of their higher-profile nature, Machado Garry believes the chance to fight on ABC exposes him to even more people that aren’t hardcore fans, which he views as crucial to building his fan base in this early chapter of his career.

“When you go into a bar, and you see a fight on TV, and you see me doing what I do best, which is put on beautiful, violent combinations, and my striking is eye catching, you can't help but not watch it, and you’re like, ‘Who is this kid?’ That’s what I want,” he said.

You see, despite his youth, he knows exactly what he wants and believes he is on the right path to getting every ounce of it. May 13 is another step on that path, and he only needs to look in the mirror to see the headlines: The Future is inevitable. 

UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Almeida took place live from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on May 13, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass