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Graham Boylan on Cage Warriors returning to Ireland: ‘This is the Irish Invasion Part Two’

Dolly Clew, Cage Warriors

Cage Warriors returns to the home of its president Graham Boylan this weekend, and the Irish promoter is focused on creating the next batch of Irish stars for the UFC with the Cork event at the Neptune Stadium this Saturday.

With a card packed full of Irish prospects, Boylan insisted that the time is right to start building talent for the world’s biggest stage like he has before with the likes of Conor McGregor and many more.

“I believe the time is right, there is a little undercurrent of guys, the likes of Ian Garry, Paul Hughes and Rhys McKee and you’ve got the two boys down south making their debuts,” Boylan told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“You’ve got the brothers Aaron Maguire and Jack Maguire, you’ve got John Mitchell…there’s a little undercurrent that’s there right now that’s starting to develop. I imagine within 12 months you’re gonna see some potential with some very high level UFC talent coming through.”

The vast majority of the first Irish invasion within the UFC had come from the Cage Warriors ranks. Fighters like McGregor, Neil Seery, Joseph Duffy, Cathal Pendred, Aisling Daly and Paul Redmond all cut their teeth under the promotional banner before graduating to the Octagon. Based on the Irish talent Cage Warriors currently boasts, Boylan predicted that we could be gearing up for the second coming of the Irish invasion.

“I think this is the Irish invasion Part Two, that’s where this is going to end. We’re doing this to wake the country up to the talent that’s here. We’ll do Belfast early next year and from there we might go back to Belfast again and we may finish in Dublin. When we do finish in Dublin, we’ll finish in a full arena of all Irish talent – talent that’s going to go on to the UFC.”

The Cage Warriors president agrees with those who think Rhys McKee is most likely the next person in line for the UFC from the island.

“A big win for Rhys on Nov. 9 puts him in the [title] conversation. He’s a solid prospect, he’s got a good record, he’s got all of the attributes…to go all the way [to the UFC],” said Boylan.

“I think Rhys is leading the charge for that purely based on his experience and the fights that he’s had, I think he’s the next guy in Ireland to walk down that path, but he’s got a dangerous, dangerous test in Hakon Foss. Foss’s record, you could look at it and roll your eyeballs, but that guy is a dangerous animal when it comes to his skillset, so it’s a big test for Rhys.

He also heaped praise on blue chip prospect, Ian Garry, a fighter who trains under former Cage Warriors middleweight champion, Chris Fields, and alongside current middleweight champion James Webb at Dublin’s Team FK.

“He’s showing all the signs of someone who wants to go to the top; he wants to go to the top. He wants to be in the UFC, he knows the path he has to take. He’s showing some serious maturity at a very young age in the fight game. He’s willing to listen and that’s always a huge plus when it comes to developing young talent because young talents get a few wins and they want to go to the UFC. He’s smart, he wants that UFC tag and firmly believe that he’s on the road to completing that task.”

Check out Graham Boylan’s interview from Eurobash. It begins at 21:00.

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