Ian Machado Garry’s next UFC fight could be trouble

Ian Machado Garry might just find getting his next big opponent to be a difficult task.

By: Zane Simon | 1 month ago
Ian Machado Garry’s next UFC fight could be trouble
Ian Machado Garry celebrates his win over Daniel Rodriguez. - Jim Dedmon IMAGO/USA TODAY Network

For streaking top prospects in MMA there often comes a point in their career where booking fights becomes an exercise more of frustration than fun. It’s the point where elite skill and athletic ability have been made clear, yet fame hasn’t quite taken hold. Essentially, it’s the point when a fighter clearly should be getting top fights, but nobody at the top wants to fight them.

It looks like Ian Machado Garry may have hit that mark. The 25-year-old Irishman has stormed his way into the welterweight rankings, most recently picking up a dominating decision over perennial gatekeeper to the elite, Neil Magny. Now the only question is who wants to play the role of potential stepping stone next.

Kevin Holland thinks UFC wouldn’t want him to fight Ian Machado Garry

One of the names that immediately leapt to mind after Ian Machado Garry’s victory at UFC 292 was that of welterweight fan favorite, Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland. A former middleweight, Holland has the kind of frame to compete with Garry out at a distance, as well as the toughness and finishing ability to make the fight dangerous for the ‘Future’ every step of the way.

It’s that kind of math, however that has Holland thinking that he won’t get anywhere near Ian Machado Garry’s fast-rising star.

“I think he answered a lot of questions, looked really good,” Holland said in a recent interview on the Believe You Me podcast (transcript via MMA Mania). “UFC says they have a blueprint for these guys to be something special when they have the Irish accent, so I think he’s on his way. I think he’s going to be wonderful.”

“They have a blueprint for guys like that, and I don’t think I fit the blueprint,” he added. “I don’t think I fit the bill when it comes to what Ian Garry has planned and, you know, props to the guy. Nothing but respect.”

Someone who might fit that bill, however, might be an aging former title contender. Someone closer to the twilight of their time at the top. Somebody like Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.

Ian Machado Garry wouldn’t be Wonderboy’s first choice

Stephen Thompson has been struggling lately. Not just inside the Octagon, where he recently lost back to back fights against Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad (and, of course, bounced back for a win over none other than the aforementioned Kevin Holland), but with the UFC itself. Thompson was set up for a fight against dangerous wildman Michel Pereira at UFC 291 back in July, but turned the fight down after Pereira failed to make weight.

Dana White & Co. didn’t take kindly to Thompson’s decision not to step in the cage against less-than-professional opposition, withholding his show money as a result. As such, ‘Wonderboy’ is in bad need of a booking. And while someone like Ian Garry might be reasonable choice, the 40-year-old Karateka has his eyes on another prize.

“I’ve been fighting backwards since Tyron Woodley, apart from Gilbert Burns, to be honest with you,” Thompson said in a recent video posted to his YouTube channel—adding that he’d be willing to face someone like Ian Machado Garry, provided he got a full training camp (transcript via MMA Junkie). “I’ve been fighting back. I’ve been fighting those 13s—the Geoff Neals, the Vicente Luques, the Belal Muhammads. I tried to get that fight with Michel Pereira, who I think was 15 or 13—I don’t remember—but giving these guys a shot.

“I want to show the UFC, and not just the UFC, but the fans, that I’m not a gatekeeper. I am not a gatekeeper. I’ve got a small window to kind of do what I want to do with the fight game. I’m 40 years old, and when I see a chance to go for another title shot before it’s over, when Kamaru Usman calls me out, I’m like—dude, no brainer. No brainer.”

If the UFC’s ‘Irish’ plan is still in action, it sounds like the promotion will be looking for an opponent to take on the Kill Cliff FC fighter at UFC 295, on November 11th. That’s a just 2.5 months away. The bottom half of the top 10 is entirely un-booked right now, it just remains to be seen who’s going to step up and put their ranking on the line.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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