The undefeated welterweight is desperate to headline a show in his native Dublin – and victory over Gabriel Green in Las Vegas will help those claims
IRISH fighter Ian Garry steps into the UFC octagon in Las Vegas tonight believing victory over Gabriel Green will catapult his career to a new level.
With little fuss, he has won his first nine fights as a professional – six of them coming inside the distance while the other three were unanimous decision verdicts.
His last outing, against Darian Weeks in Florida, was a comfortable victory for Garry (24). However, he was left frustrated by his opponent's unwillingness to go bring the fight. In Green, a 29-year-old Californian with a record of 11 wins and three defeats, he has an adversary who will go toe-to-toe.
Less than three months have passed since the fight against Weeks. It's a short gap, especially in a sport where some fighters only see action once a year.
"I wanted a quick turnaround because I wasn't happy or fulfilled with that fight," said Garry, speaking over Zoom from his living quarters in Las Vegas ahead of the fight.
"It was three full rounds but I didn't take any damage whatsoever. I dominated the fight for 15 minutes. I got straight back into the gym after it.
"I wasn't full of joy even though it was a win. I was more annoyed with the fight itself because he parked the bus a lot. He didn't give me that energy that I thought he was going to.
"It's exciting now because this guy (Green) will bring a fight. He's going to bring some energy and that will make it fun. He's going to try to beat me, he's going to be aggressive, he's going to rush forward and I'm going to knock him out."
Merely being placed on this event is an endorsement from the UFC of just how highly regarded Garry is.
Taking place during the organisation's famed International Fight Week, UFC 276 is headlined by two title fights. Alexander Volkanovski defends his featherweight title against Max Holloway, while Israel Adesanya puts his middleweight championship on the line against Jared Cannonier.
As a welterweight, none of those fighters are in the Irishman's sights, but that could change if he moves up in weight.
As well as the title fights, the card includes plenty of recognisable faces such as Robbie Lawler, Sean Strickland and Donald Cerrone.
Garry is in no doubt that he merits his place.
"It's my third pay-per-view in the UFC and it's my third fight in the UFC. I fought in UFC 268, I fought in 273 and now I'm fighting in 276. They've all been big cards.
"I've only been put on big cards because I show up and they know I can deal with the pressure. I shine the brightest under the bright lights.
"This is obviously bigger because it's International Fight Week. It's their biggest fight card of the year. It's about the fans and the people that are here – they fly so many UFC fighters in to do stuff for the fans and it's a great energy. I've always wanted to fight on International Fight Week and I'm excited to go to the T-Mobile Arena and put on a show."
Garry has another objective in his sights – to take the UFC back to Dublin.
"After I go 3-0 in the UFC and I get another finish, I want the UFC to come back to Dublin and I want to fight on that card. It's one of my dreams.
"I remember speaking to Seán Sheehan of Severe MMA when we were doing media for a Cage Warriors event in Cork and saying I want to be the guy that brings the UFC back to Dublin.
"Now I'm this close to having that happen. If I go 10-0 – 3-0 in the UFC – I'm taking another big step. There has been plenty of hype around UFC London, but it's like people have forgotten that the Irish are the best crowd in the world.
"You can fill a tiny little stadium and it'll be louder than anywhere else on the planet. That's something that I want to do next – bring UFC back."
Before all of that, he has a job to do tonight.
"From what we've seen, Green is very aggressive. He comes forward. He doesn't have any fear of any opponent I've seen him against, which is good – I like that because it means he's going to run into a shot, so bring it on.
"I'm excited. I feel like I've got a point to prove in this fight and show how hard I hit and how strong I am and how fast I am. I will get to show a more violent and venomous side of me and I want the world to see that."
The early prelims of UFC 276 start at 11pm (Irish time) and are available on UFC Fight Pass.
The undercard – including Ian Garry’s fight – and main bill are live on UFC Fight Pass and BT Sport 1 from 1am.