UFC 292 looks like it’s set up to be a quality night of entertainment for UFC fans. The card is headlined by a bantamweight title fight, with champion Aljamain Sterling defending his title against action-fight standout ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley. In the co-main, strawweight champion Weili Zhang takes on hard-punching Brazilian Amanda Lemos for the first defense of her second title reign.
Between them, they have millions of followers on Twitter and Instagram, most of which belong to Sean O’Malley. If any metrics are to be believed, the 28-year-old MMA Lab talent is far and away the biggest star on the card. Except for one man, apparently…
Ian Garry thinks he’s ‘carrying’ UFC 292
There’s no question that Ian Garry looks like a star in the making. The 25-year-old former Cage Warriors champion has looked every bit a top prospect and potential title contender in his first five UFC bouts, picking up an electrifying head kick KO over Daniel Rodriguez back in May. But the key words there are ‘in the making.’
Garry only just fought his way off the prelims in his last bout. His fight at UFC 292 will be his first time ever appearing on the PPV portion of an MMA event. Still, it seems he feels the UFC’s trip to Boston couldn’t have happened without him.
“I believe that I am carrying this 292 card on my back, and that if it wasn’t for me, this card would go down the drain,” Garry quipped in a recent MMA Hour interview, when asked if he was worried he wouldn’t get to fight following a short notice opponent change (transcript via MMA Fighting). “With the opponent change and everything, at the end of the day, I’m just happy the fans get to see me, because I know there’s a lot of Irish and Brazilian support in Boston that are excited to have me there. I’m glad the fans get to watch me live in action.”
“For sure,” Garry continued when pressed about his answer. “I’m Irish. I’m fighting in Boston. They have a massive Irish contingent. I’ve just been in Brazil the last two and a half months, [and] the biggest contingent of Brazilians is in Massachusetts and Boston.
“This is the stage, the platform where I go in there, and you say it, you’ve got the likes of Sean O’Malley and Aljamain and all these guys, that I’m the superstar on the card. It happened in the last fight, it’s happening this fight, the wheels are in motion. I just have to show up and do my thing, and the world will see.”
Ian Garry got his Neal Magny fight
As hard as it is to buy Garry’s claim that he’s already a UFC star, or PPV appointment booking, his claim isn’t helped at all by his choice of opponent. Following his win over Rodriguez, Garry called for a battle against the perennial welterweight gatekeeper to the top 10, the ‘Haitian Sensation’ Neil Magny.
Unquestionably a ballsy callout for Garry, as Magny has proven to be the failing point for many other young prospects looking to push their way into the elite, but not exactly a fight to thrill anyone. Something it seems even the UFC must have felt, since Garry ended up with a booking against fast-handed power puncher Geoff Neal instead.
Unfortunately for us, however, Garry appears to have gotten just what he wanted in the end. Neal had to pull out of his bout at UFC 292 due to an as-yet undisclosed health issue, and Magny was there to pick up jump in instead.
“If I get called out, that means I’m doing something right,” Magny said, responding to Garry at a recent press conference. “It’s up to me to go out there and show these young guys, ‘Ugh, maybe I shouldn’t call Neil out again?’ kind of thing. But, that’s the name of the sport. You want to be able to solidify yourself at the top and make sure that guys are wanting to fight you. If you’re the guy in the division that everyone’s just like, ‘Nah, I don’t want to fight that guy, give me somebody else,’ and you’re not getting called? My opinion, you’re in a bad position.”
UFC 292 takes place at the TD Garden in Boston, MA this Saturday, August 19th. Alongside the two tittle fights, the event will also feature a bantamweight top contender’s bout between Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz, as well as the UFC return of former middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
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