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newsexclusive ian garry ufc interview reacts to leon edwards putting him in hospital with a head kick conor mcgregor reached out id box sev

Exclusive Ian Garry UFC Interview: Reacts to Leon Edwards putting him in hospital with a head kick; Conor McGregor reached out & said I was his inspiration for his come back; I’d box seven shades of s**t out of Jake Paul for free

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UFC rising star Ian Garry has opened up to on how he would dismantle Jake Paul if the pair ever met in the octagon, named his four winners from the fights at this weekend’s UFC 282, plus revealed what he thinks the future holds for fellow Irish fighter Conor McGregor in a wide-ranging interview.

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key stories from the interview:

Full transcript

Question: Paddy has said him vs McGregor would be the biggest PPV of all time, who wins that fight?

IG: That fight ain’t happening! Firstly let’s just clarify. Conor McGregor vs. anyone is the pay per view. Paddy’s a co main on a pay per view this week. Let’s see the numbers he gets. Conor has the history. Connor has the proof, he’s got the records to show. He is the pay per view guy. Connor versus anyone sells. So that would be my first point on that.

And then secondly I don’t think that fight happens, and if it did I don’t really care. At this point I mean, it’s not a fight I’m interested to see. It’s not a fight that interests me. It’s two fighters at completely different points in their careers. One who’s done everything he said he ever

needed to do versus one who wants to prove it all. So for me, I think Conor is the pay per view himself and he’s proved that and Paddy has to prove that he’s the pay per view now. So I think if anything this fight is fantastical.

Q: If Paddy ever came up to Welterweight, would you like to share the ring with him on an England or even Ireland card?

IG: I like Paddy… But I wouldn’t want to do what I would do to him if he stepped into that octagon with me. So, I think he should stay at 155. I’m a natural 170, I couldn’t make 155 if I tried. He’s not a natural 170 so he’d be coming up against everyone in the welterweight division who would have a massive advantage over Paddy in the fact that we would all be the naturally bigger guy. I haven’t heard of anything about Paddy moving up to welterweight. He made 155 pretty clean, even though people fat shaming him and he likes to prove them wrong. I like that. And if he moves up to 170 I would show him why it was a bad decision. 

Q: Do you think that social media is becoming more important than UFC ranking in terms of getting yourself a big fight?

IG: OK, two answers. Firstly the UFC has no lack of amazing fighters. There’s a reason why everyone who signed to the UFC signed to you see it’s because they’re an elite fighter. Right. However, the lack of personalities, and people with storylines and good media. So social media is a brand. Social media is our job and Paddy, Sean me a lot of us are working hard at it and doing it right. I believe that that brings interest into the fight itself because people are emotionally connected to it from the Instagram posts on a day-to-day basis, as opposed to just a fight. So the UFC has no lack of good fighters, but it has a lack of cool personalities that people want to kind of buy into.

So I don’t believe it has more importance than the rankings because at the end of the day, you have to earn the ranking. You have to earn that number one spot you have to earn that top 10 through performances. However, being a smart businessman outside the cage, doing doing your job and having a good social media is a testament to your hard work, and it should absolutely have some benefits to your fights 110% it should, because it’s hard work outside

of the octagon. And then when you go into the octagon you do what you love.

You can be the best fighter in the world, and no one will tune in. Or you can be the most amazing, amazing personality in the world, and not the best fighter, and people will tune in. So, it’s about finding that perfect balance and there are guys who have done a really good job so far and let’s see how their careers go. 

Q: How was your sparring session with Leon Edwards? Is the tooth ok?

IG: My tooth’s good, thanks for asking [laughs]. Leon is a UFC champion for a reason. He’s an elite level talent, and he’s proved himself to be one of the best fighters in the division and in the organisation. Doubted by many for a while, but he’s proved himself to be the champion. I couldn’t be happy to see him win that belt. He’s a great athlete, he’s got a lot of knowledge, and he’s someone who I have had the blessing of being able to travel up to Birmingham and train with and learn from, so it’s really cool.

Q: Has Leon Edwards helped you with your introduction to the UFC?

IG: I wouldn’t say he’s helped me with my introduction to the UFC. I mean I won the cage warriors belt and was signed off the back of my own hard work. Being able to train with the current UFC world champion in his gym, in his hometown and learn from him and pick his brain in any way shape or form, there can be no negatives to that. Learning from anything that he could, he could give me would all just be knowledge so I can store and have his experience. I’m just very blessed to be able to share with Leon and see where the future takes us. 

Q: You’re currently #37 in the Welterweight division, what targets have you set for 2023?

IG: The only thing that I care about is winning. And so, however many fights I have this year I’ve always said I want to have three fights a year, every year. And it’s the perfect balance of time off in between fights to grow and learn, and then go into the cage a different athlete, a different fighter with different tools. So the goal for me will always be staying undefeated, keep winning and do it whatever way I see fit in the fight. If I can finish someone I’ll finish them.

If I have to stand there and pick someone apart for 15 minutes, because they are a tough opponent then that’s it. As long as my hand gets raised. I couldn’t care less. And I make sure that the person who’s paid to watch that, or the person who’s paid to come and sit in the seats is having a good show and I’ve put on a spectacle for them. That’s all I want. I want people to enjoy my fights and I want my hand to get raised. I want to cut some people up as well. I want to see some blood. I want to see violence.

Q: Do you have any specific opponents in mind for 2023?

IG: Sean Shelby is a phenomenal matchmaker. And he has been through this rodeo with many many many prospects performing. I put my trust in him to do his job, the way he has done which has been almost perfect. And that’s let’s see what he thinks is best for me. He’ll send me a contract, I’ll sign it and say yes. And when there’s a fight that really tickles my fancy. I’ll make sure that everybody knows about it once I win the fight and I call someone out. But that man is pretty damn good at his job.

Q: You’ve had 3 UFC fights all in the USA, when is the big homecoming for you? 

IG: That’s coming. All I have to do is keep doing my job. Keep going out there and putting on amazing performances. Keep going out there and impressing people in the company and keep impressing the fans.I want that Dublin fight I want that UFC Dublin return. I’m going to earn it, I guarantee it. This year I will have earned that, whether it’s the end of this year we fight in Dublin or the start of next year. I am going to earn that UFC Dublin, because the Irish fans. They do so much for the sport. They travel the world and cause chaos with the rise of Conor. They deserve that UFC return on our soil, the soil, and I’m the guy to do it.

I would absolutely love nothing more than to go back to Dublin, put on an amazing UFC card with an amazing UFC main event and me versus whoever the UFC think would put on a show and get people to come in and watch the fights and give the Irish fans a show to remember. 

Q: What is your dream card? The scenario is that you’re headlining for the UFC title, you pick the venue, you pick your opponent and give us a few names of people you’d want to be on the card too.

IG: Right. So, all five round fights because I want to see as much devastation and violence and blood and I want to see people get tired and people get knocked down and people get caught up and smashed. If we’re going to make the ideal dream fight we’re going to put it in a stadium, like a Croke Park in Dublin, or at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Texas. 

The opening fight would be me vs Jorge Masvidal for the BMF belt. Right, because the BMF belt is a load of b****cks. But if someone is going to have it, it shouldn’t be him. That guy walking around like a street Jesus thinking he’s a gangster. Why do you deserve to be, why do you deserve to be the baddest man. Because you fight people? Great. That’s your job.

So you should do your job, don’t be thinking it’s cool to be going out fighting people on the streets, that’s not being a good role model for kids. So I’d love to smash him, that would be my first fight.

Let’s put Wonder Boy Stephen Thompson and Israel Adesanya together and put a show on for the fans. Two of the best strikers the UFC has ever been graced with. Put them together. Then GSP [Georges St-Pierre] versus Anderson Silva. The Super fight that never happened, that we wish had happened. Let’s put that together. It’s personalities, it’s people that bring it to the sport, it’s people that people would absolutely pay to watch.

So then let’s do Gordon Ryan, the king of grapple and submission grappling at the moment versus Jon Jones. The greatest grappler on the planet right now against arguably the greatest of all time in UFC, and put them together and see what happens. Let’s watch that.

Then what about Conor McGregor vs Jake Paul in an MMA fight let’s see it happen! Let’s see those personalities collide, let’s get it on! And then the co-main event… a spectacle of Francis Ngannou vs Henry Cejudo. Let’s watch that. Let’s see how that Olympic Wrestling gold medal holds up against Francis Ngannou when he punches you into orbit!

And the main event. Me vs Nate Diaz. I’ll fight twice in one night. Let me go in there and show the world that he’s human, that he bleeds and that he can be stopped. And let me punch a hole in his head. Yeah that is the coolest card you’ll ever see.

Q: Conor McGregor has obviously been there, done that and worn the t-shirt in the UFC already. Has he contacted you at all after any of your wins this year in the UFC? If so, has he given you any advice?

IG: The only communication we had was, after my UFC debut, when I did the ‘we’re not here to take part we’re here to take over.’ And that was absolutely me giving a shout out to the guy who inspired me in a place where he became the double champion. That was absolutely me wanting to thank him and get the Irish crowd excited and say hey this is it. It’s happening again. You had one champion, you had one superstar. Now you’ve got another and that’s let’s do it all over again. Get the Irish bandwagon out. Let’s travel the world and put on some shows. 

And what that guy did was absolutely phenomenal, and I can only hope that I could do something near that because that guy did so f***ing much. He reached out to me and he sent me a message saying thank you for giving me so much inspiration in a time where he was injured, and I thought that was really cool. For my inspiration, the person who inspired me to follow my dreams. After winning with a round 1 knockout… for him to tell me that he was inspired by that and now he’s going to come back in that takeover Part Two. Yeah so that was, that was cool for me that was a fanboy moment for sure.

Q: Do you think you can carry the Irish MMA community after McGregor does eventually hand his gloves up?

IG: I don’t think any baton needs to be passed on, I think I’m doing it right now. Yeah, I think I am, I’m the only current active UFC fighter from Ireland, on the roster, and I’ve had three fights in the last 12 months. And I’ve won all three. I have the hype. I’ve always been touted as the next Conor McGregor for ages. And the truth is I’m Ian Garry. I’m the future for a reason. I have an attitude that I’m going to be the best. And I want to go out there and prove it, and I don’t think any baton needs to be passed. Conor McGregor is Conor McGregor, and always will be the person who changed the UFC. And I just hope to go out there and have my name in the conversation of the greatest of all time. All I want is to have respect on my name as being one of the best fighters to ever enter the organisation. And I think I’m leading that right now. 

Q: Conor McGregor is currently out of the USADA testing pool and probably won’t fight until next summer. Who do you think offers the juiciest fight for Mcgregor on his return?

IG: I like the Michael Chandler fight. I think it’s interesting. Michael Chandler is a teammate of mine, he has had five fights in the UFC. And I would argue that no one has put on more entertaining fights in the UFC than Michael Chandler. When you think of his fights… Tony Ferguson… that fight was just absolutely insane. You’ve got Dustin Poirier, you’ve got Charles Oliviera and then you’ve got Justin Gaethje and you’ve got Dan Hooker. All phenomenal fights. Connor vs Chandler let’s make it happen. Let’s see them chat s**t to each other and yeah, let’s see who wins. All I know is if I’m in the gym at the same time as Michael Chandler I won’t be able to bite my tongue. I’ll have to send some words in his direction.

Q: Do you think Conor can make it back to a world title win again?

IG: I think if that man sets himself a goal it’s up to him to complete it, and if he wants it badly enough, I believe he can get it. And like I said that hard work and dedication is all that you need. We know he’s got that potential, we’ve seen him win two world titles so he has that in him. But whether HE wants it or not is the question. And so yeah, he’s been out of the US out of the testing pool but he’s gonna get back in from stuff I’ve seen on Twitter. But right now it’s all speculation. Let’s see if he comes back and if he comes back, you can guarantee that he’ll be the big pay per view draw. Everybody’s been calling him out but I guarantee they’ll all go quiet when he is back.

Q: There’s been a lot of back and forth between Joe Rogan & Mcgregor over the last month over Twitter, recently Rogan has accused McGregor coming out of USADA for using PEDs, what do you make of this?

IG: I don’t have any opinion on the conversation at all. Joe Rogan has an eight hour long podcast and he’s doing podcast after podcast after podcast so s**t is going to get said. But that’s between them two, I have no say in it whatsoever. I respect both guys, and I’m not gonna say a bad word about either of them. 

Q: Jake Paul is making a lot of noise about UFC and fighters pay. Do you think there’s any merit in what he’s saying?

IG: I think Jake Paul is a phenomenal businessman and what he is doing for himself as a person, as a businessman and his brand is phenomenal. I am very happy with the UFC contract I signed. I have no complaints. I am focused on becoming the best fighter I can possibly be. And that for me is the UFC champion. That is my goal. I want to be the UFC champion. So to be worried about someone else’s paycheck isn’t isn’t going to help me to be the world. That’s going to be a jealous outlook on someone else’s success. I think what Jake Paul has done has been great.

I mean, I was, I was sceptical at the start of this, of what he was doing. But then I saw a brilliant video of his. I don’t know if you’ve seen it or not, but it was on his Instagram, and I thought it was f*****g genius. He had like this kind of hot sexy nurse and he was on a bed with an IV or a drip in his mouth or whatever it was and he had this kind of sexy dress come up to me and be like, ‘oh my god are you okay?’. And he’s like ‘no I’m dying, I’m dying… I’m dying from carrying this fight!! From carrying the promotion.’ Absolute genius.

He’s put the hard work in to be a boxer. I seen the video of him hitting pads when he was younger and he couldn’t f*****g box snow off a road. And now look at him, he’s looking more like an athlete. He’s getting crisper with his hands. He’s, he’s loud, he’s brash, he’s calling out Dana White, Conor McGregor. He’s calling out Paddy Pimblett and he’s bringing attention to him to the UFC to everyone around them and he’s a very smart businessman. So look, each to their own, I’m very happy with the UFC contract I signed. I was aware of what I was getting into, and I have no complaints against the UFC as an organisation in terms of what I’ve signed up to.

Q: Jake’s been calling Paddy out over social media, if he offered you $1m for 8 rounds in the boxing ring, would you take that fight?

IG: Right. Listen to me. I would box seven shades of s**t out of Jake Paul and I would do it for free. I don’t even need to say any more about it. That’s it.

Q: How long would it take you to beat Jake Paul or Logan Paul in the octagon & Do you think YouTuber MMA could ever be a thing?

IG: In the octagon!? Ooh he’d have to be a brave man to step into the octagon with me! Again, I think what the Paul brothers have done is incredible. One of them has fought Floyd Mayweather and that’s insane to me. They put on some amazing fights, they’ve got a lot of bums in seats and they’ve got a lot of people to pay to watch their fights. So they’re very very smart at what they do. They are kings of content and they’ve got a phenomenal brand behind them. 

However, if they stood into an octagon with me I would beat the s**t out of them for 14 minutes and 58 seconds. Because I would want them to know that I am better than them at what I do. You know I’d make them struggle. I’d make them not want to be there, I’d make them want to quit, and when they want to quit I’m not going to give them the option to quit. I’ll decide when I finish the fight. Let’s see what content he’s got when he’s looking scared, when he’s got that fear and anxiety. He wouldn’t want anything to do with me and I’d be like hey, you asked for this. You’ve stepped into my world. You shouldn’t have done this. Reality hits hard.

Q: Of all the current UFC champions, who do you rank as the pound-for-pound number one?

IG: Islam Makhachev. I think he’s phenomenal, he really is. I think he’s got a lot to prove like a lot to prove but I believe he absolutely has that potential to be the best fighter in the UFC.

Q: Will Leon Edwards fight Kamaru Usman in a trilogy next, and if so, do you think he can beat him again?

IG: I absolutely think that’s what should be next. Usman deserves it. We have mentioned him as potentially the greatest welterweight of all time. We were comparing him to GSP. Then Leon goes out there and head kicks him into next month. Leon avenged his loss to Usman and now they’re one apiece. You tell me that Leon, going into a fight with Usman after having knocked him unconscious. After he was losing the fight. He was down three rounds to one right, he won the first round and lost the three rounds after that, and then came out and pulled it out of the bag with possibly the most important head kick in UFC history.

And now you tell me if they fight again, that the guy who lost to Usman is going to be a different fighter. Having the confidence of thinking the last time we fought I knocked you unconscious. I’d like to see Leon defend it in his home country. And I think absolutely that adds a different look to the fight when you put it in that perspective. 

Q: Do you think it’s fair that fighters at the Glory MMA gym are being banned from fighting, following the James Krause betting scandal?

IG: I’ve seen about it, however it is, as of right now, an ongoing investigation. We do not know the facts of the matter and I think speaking about it is speculation to be honest. I know it was leaked on Instagram and stuff by the press. But we don’t know the facts. I mean let’s find out the facts and speak about it more when we find out what it is.

Q: Should UFC fighters be banned from betting on any UFC fights?

IG: The amount of money I’d have made if I could bet on my own fights! I’d just bet on me to win every time! But absolutely there’s a reason that the Code of Conduct is there that UFC fighters can’t bet on themselves. The reason that you can’t bet on your friends in the gym. Because of inside knowledge. It’s the exact same outlook on a USADA for example… it’s inside information. We don’t know about fighters being injured, teammates who are fighting might, it’s the exact same. I think it’s there to protect the fighters.

It gives it that seal of approval. It shows we are legit. There’s nothing fake about it. There is no shady business going on. I absolutely think it’s completely fair that fighters can’t bet on themselves or their teammates, because any inside knowledge isn’t isn’t fair. So, yes, it absolutely has a massive amount of integrity to the sport and brings a lot to everyone watching it knowing that these guys are legit.

Q: Apart from yourself, who should we keep an eye on from Ireland who you think can go on to be a UFC champion in the future, perhaps fighters who aren’t even signed to the UFC yet?

IG: A friend of mine by the name of Paul Hughes, who recently unified the Cage Warriors belt and became the Cage World Champion. He took on his rival in Jordan Vucemic and got a dominant win over him and became the undisputed Cage Warriors lightweight champion, and I think he’s the next guy to be signed to the UFC, whenever that may be. I think he’s a great fighter and he shows a lot of heart because whenever he puts on a show. I think he’s definitely the next guy from Ireland that should be signed.

It’s one more fighter that will be on that UFC Dublin card. He puts bums on the seats and puts on a show for the fans and will help us slowly grow this army of Irish UFC fans. When I got kicked out of my old team and they abandoned me 10 days out from a world title fight, Paul stepped in to corner me when I had nobody. He’s a good friend of mine, I wish him all the success in the world.

Liam Solomon
Liam Solomon
Liam Solomon

Liam is the Head of Sports PR for Betting Sites. He has over 10 years experience in Digital Marketing & PR, working in TV & Entertainment, Fashion, Technology, Sports & Betting. An avid Arsenal supporter, Liam keeps up to date with all things Football but loves everything Sports related. A number of Liam's Betting Sites interview & data stories have been covered on news sites including; The Sun, Daily Mail, Express, Mirror & Sportsbible.

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