“The Future” as the present: Ian Garry fights for title at Cage Warriors 125

Ian Garry in the Cage Warriors cage. Credit: Cage Warriors.

For many MMA fans, their first impression of undefeated welterweight superprospect Ian Garry (6-0) came when they saw a viral video of the Irish fighter on Twitter in which he spoke eloquently about his grandfather having dementia. When Garry’s grandfather heard the word “imagine,” he would start to sing the iconic John Lennon song of the same name. In a touching clip that shows the athlete’s character, Garry and his grandfather sing the tune together.

Garry’s amateur career, which lasted only 12 months, began in 2017; all of his 6 wins came inside the distance. Fans could tell early on that he was a very eager fighter that had the hunger to get to the top end of the sport in quick fashion.

His career path has shown him to be quite methodical in his thinking and planning, refusing what he once said was the easy money in Bellator. Instead, he took the more tried and trusted route with CW fighters, a route that has borne fruit for fighters of the caliber of future UFC champions Conor McGregor, Michael Bisping, and Joanna Jedrzejczk.

Garry’s professional debut was a decision win, but since then — as with his amateur career — all of his fights have ended with finishes that haven’t gone past the second round. This author was lucky enough to be in attendance cage-side for his third professional fight against Mateusz Figlak (5-1) in my home city of Cork, Ireland. There, I witnessed firsthand the skills he possesses and cemented my initial view of him being one of the biggest fighting talents to come out of these shores in many years.

The manner in which his striking has improved upon each fight was once again evident against his toughest opponent on paper, Rostem Akman (6-3), a UFC veteran. Garry soundly defeated Akman in the pair’s March 2021 bout, stopping the 29-year-old with a head kick and follow-up punches.

Now, however, “The Future” has become the present.

This Saturday at the famous York Hall in London, Garry has the perfect opportunity to showcase all his abilities at Cage Warriors 125 in what one could describe as against his toughest opponent to date in his young promising career.

His opponent is a longtime Cage Warriors veteran Jack Grant (17-6), who has won six of his last eight fights with all those fighters coming in with winning records beforehand against him. At this point in his career, this is as big as a test as Garry could ask for, but one he will surely relish on fight night.

From Grant’s perspective, he will see his grappling as giving him a slight edge if this fight goes to the ground. His top control is very impressive, and he has a variety of wins in recent years by anaconda, guillotine, and flying armbar to name just a few. There is plenty of weaponry in his armory that poses significant questions for Garry to counter which all the more adds to the intrigue of this fight.

The key for Garry is to use his footwork and lateral movement to keep Grant on the end of his strikes and then look for an opening, which early on against Grant might be at a premium. The longer this fight goes on, the greater chance Garry has for another exciting finish, which, if it comes about on this occasion, would result in his first world title at the tender age of 23, less than three years since his professional debut.