Since Ian Garry claims he’s the future of the welterweight division, there’s no better person for him to train with than the division’s current champion.
Garry, the former Cage Warrior welterweight champion, made his UFC debut this past year, securing a first-round knockout over Jordan Williams at UFC 268. The Irish prospect currently trains out of Sanford MMA, home to some of the top 170-pound talent in the world, including Shavkat Rakhmonov, Gilbert Burns, and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. In his time at Sanford, Garry said that training alongside Usman — and hearing the stories about him — has been a formative experience for the young prospect.
“I was kind of shocked because of his size,” Garry said on The MMA Hour. “He’s not anywhere near as big as he looks on TV, because he looks jacked when he’s on the camera. But I was speaking to the guys, and they were saying he’s not the best striker, he’s not the best wrestler, he’s not the best at jiu-jitsu, but he’s the best at mixing it up. And they were saying, ‘He’ll get beat up in wrestling, he’ll get beat up in grappling, he’ll get beat up in kickboxing, but when it comes to MMA, he’s the best.’ And we’ve seen that in his fights. I think he’s on a 15-fight win streak in the UFC, which is insane.
“It was obviously a pleasure to share the cage. He was explaining a couple things I can do better. We were doing kickboxing drills, so we kind of swap and change between everyone. [Coach] Henry [Hooft] likes us to feel kicks on the arms, kicks on the legs, block kicks to the head, just little things, redirect kicks and move energy and come back and refire. I think we’ve done two rounds together and it was really cool.”
It’s not only cool for Garry, but instructive. “The Future” relocated to the United States to train full time at Sanford, so he can work with some of the best fighters and coaches in the world. For him, training with the likes of Usman and others is the best way to reach his eventual goal of becoming a champion, a goal he plans to take major steps toward this year.
“There’s no rush. My main concern, my main goal, is to grow,” Garry said. “To become a better fighter, to become a better martial artist, to become a better athlete in every single way I can. Diet, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and technical ability. So for me, it’s working with the team that I’ve surrounded myself, to get better and grow and grow and grow. By the end of this year, I’ll be 4-0 in the UFC, I will have fought three times in 2022, and I’ll be 11-0, and I’ll prove to everybody why I said I’m ‘The Future.’”
That journey will being on April 9th when Garry has his sophomore outing in the UFC against Darian Weeks at UFC 273. Weeks is coming off a loss to Bryan Barbarena from this past December, and Garry plans to make it two in a row for the American.
“I hadn’t heard of him. The name got sent across, I said yes, that’s the way it is,” Garry said. “I had a quick glance at his fight against [Bryan] Barbarena — he’s alright. He’s nothing special, but he’s in the UFC and every fighter that’s in the UFC should be respected for whatever their skill set may be, because they can all potentially win. He’s gonna end up fighting me, which is his ticket to stardom, is what he thinks — but, as I’ve done many times, I’m gonna go in there and win. I’m gonna find a way to win like I always do.”