You either love him or hate him, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind regarding the contribution of
Conor McGregor to mixed martial arts. The sport which once would only appeal to a specific niche, became globally recognized and one of the most popular with the growth of the Irishman, who not only made the UFC famous, but also MMA in general, and the UFC double champion is one of the most followed sportspersons in the world.
From the adrenaline-filled press conferences to the iconic weight ins and walk-ins with donning the “An Trídhathach” on his shoulders, McGregor was solely the reason for many fans to religiously follow the sport. Now there are huge fighters like Khamzat Chimaev and Israel Adesanya who provide a spectacular show on every UFC main event. The events are so big that they can be viewed by PPV on the official sources and on live streaming betting sites that provide a live betting experience along with the option to watch the match.
However, many would argue that McGregor, who once dominated the featherweight division and also took the lightweight division by storm, is past his prime and his best days in the Octagon may be over. The energy and excitement that ‘The Notorious’ brought to the Octagon, might just become a thing of the past.
However, it might not be over just yet, as cradling the hopes of Irish MMA fans is Ian Garry, a 24-year-old Dublin native with an impressive 7-0-0 record who is seen as the successor to McGregor. But the question lurks, will Garry carry forward McGregor’s legacy and become the next Irish UFC champion?
From Dublin to Cage Warriors, Ian Garry has a similar foundation to that of Conor McGregor
Before making his UFC debut at UFC on Fuel TV 9 in April 2013, Conor McGregor rose to prominence in Cage Warriors, the famed Irish MMA promotion based in London and won both the CWFC Featherweight as well as Lightweight championships, becoming the first MMA fighter in Europe to win titles in two separate divisions. McGregor would go on to achieve the same honour in the UFC as well, winning both the UFC Featherweight and Lightweight championship and becoming the first double champion in the UFC.
Strikingly, the career of Ian Garry has been following a very similar path to that of McGregor’s. The Dublin-based fighter made his CWFC debut at Cage Warriors 99 in 2018 and went onto win all eight of his fights as well as the Welterweight championship in his native MMA promotion at Cage Warriors 125 in June last year. He would eventually vacate his title before moving to the MMA top drawer, the UFC.
Arriving at the UFC following Cage Warriors championship, the resemblance continues
After vacating his CWFC Welterweight title, Ian Garry moved to the UFC and made his debut at UFC 268 in November last year at Madison Square Garden, the same venue where Conor McGregor became double champ. On his debut, Garry defeated Jordan Williams, knocking him out in the first round- a similar result that McGregor achieved on his UFC debut against Marcus Brimage.
It took McGregor five brilliant UFC performances before he earned a shot at the interim UFC Featherweight championship, followed a title unification against the then reigning UFC Featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
Garry, on the other hand, has earned applaud for his stunning Octagon debut and is set to take on Darian Weeks at UFC 273 in April. Expected to land another victory in his next fight, the undefeated Irish prospect is seen as a future top contender at 170.
With so many parallels between the two, it can be easily deduced as why Garry is seen as the successor to McGregor in the UFC. But the question is, will Ian Garry rise the ranks and eventually become the second Irish champion at the UFC after Conor McGregor? Only time will have the answer.