Over the past month, Cage Warriors prospects have run riot.
At Cage Warriors 108 in Cardiff, hometown stars Mason Jones and Oban Elliot impressed with a pair of wins in the main and co-main events, the latter via an outstanding first-round rear-naked choke.
Two weeks later, at CW 109, Morgan Charriere finished former 145-pound champion Dean Trueman in stunning fashion, while Jordan Vucenic opened his Cage Warriors account with a unanimous decision victory.
This weekend, Cage Warriors will return to Ireland for the 10th time in its history, and one man keen to impress will be welterweight Ian Garry, arguably the promotion’s most exciting prospect of them all.
At the age of 21, Garry is just two years into his mixed martial arts career. Despite this, it already feels like he is one of the brightest stars in this current crop of Irish talent, alongside Bellator’s James Gallagher and amateur Lee Hammond.
When he made his amateur debut at Clan Wars 30, there was already hype surrounding the name Ian Garry, and it took the Irishman just a minute to show why knocking out Andrejs Laksa with a sweet left hook. As an amateur, Garry amassed a 6-1 record, with his only loss coming at the hands of Romania’s Andreeas Binder by way of split decision (a fight he very arguably won).
After impressing on the amateur scene, Garry had two paths to choose from; Bellator or Cage Warriors. While the American-based promotion has invested significantly into the British Isles over the last few years, Garry chose the tried-and-tested proving ground, and made his Cage Warriors debut in November 2018, concluding his amateur career with a dominant first-round victory over Guolaugar Einarsson.
Garry made his second bow under the Cage Warriors banner in his professional debut at CW 101, facing countryman James Sheehan. In the opening moments of the first round, the Irishman dropped his opponent with a one-two that set the tone for the rest of the bout. Utilizing a long jab and polished leg kicking game, Garry went the full distance and wound up 30-25, 30-25, 30-27 victory.
In his most recent bout, Garry faced Matteo “Kinder” Ceglia at a catchweight of 177-pounds and arguably picked up his best finish to date. In a decent first round, Garry punished his opponents lead leg, but appeared to struggle with Ceglia’s constant pulling guard. In the second, Garry once again found a home for several outside leg kicks, and with four minutes still remaining in the round, delivered a question-mark kick that connected, sending his opponent to the canvas and forcing the stoppage.
How does he fight?
At 6-foot-3, Garry is among the tallest 170-pounders in the world (equal with Neil Magny, James Vick, and Curtis Millender), and there are certainly elements of his game that reflect this. Garry’s jab is effective, and his range-kicking game is improving every time he steps onto the Cage Warriors stage.
On the feet, Garry’s bread-and-butter is his one-two, and in every fight, he has found a home for it. Combining this with occasional knees and elbows, there is potential for Garry to become a vicious striker. Garry has also steadily become a more prolific feinter, and against Ceglia in particular, used the threat of the outside leg kick to great effect. Also, the Irishman has shown some ability to work the bodies of his opponents. Between these and an ever-expanding kicking game, Garry certainly has the base for what could develop into a buffet of offensive weapons.
Defensively there is still room for improvement, but there are signs that with more octagon experience, this will come. Against both Ceglia and Sheehan (his two professional bouts), Garry looked slightly shaky going backward, and there is a slight tendency to keep his hands low when circling away, but so far, whenever Garry has looked in trouble, his own speed and athleticism bail him out.
While Garry is not a natural on the mat, he has certainly made great strides in his grappling since he made his amateur debut and his most recent bout is a testament to that. In his third amateur bout against Andreeas Binder, Garry looked uncomfortable and rushed on the mat, constantly trying to explode out of positions, but ending up in even deeper waters. Against Ceglia, the Irishman did a far better job being patient and refused to engage the Italian’s attempts to pull guard.
Garry is far from the finished article that much is clear. But what is equally clear is that this Dubliner possesses excellent athleticism, is constantly evolving technically and provided Garry keeps developing as he previously has done, he will be causing problems at the top of Cage Warriors’ 170-pound division in no time.
What does the future hold?
For now, Ian Garry remains a prospect. Highly-touted, yes, but a prospect nonetheless, and his upcoming bout against fellow 2-0 prospect Mateusz Figlak will be yet another important litmus test in the Irishman’s career. Figlak has never lost, in the amateurs nor professionally, and possesses a relatively well-rounded style, centered around a polished ground-game; while Garry will likely enter as strong favorite, this is not an easy bout.
Garry has been candid about his own goals for the future, and in a recent interview with Sean Sheehan of SevereMMA, the Team KF fighter explained that he plans on following a path that many before him have. Firstly, Garry wants Cage Warriors’ 170-pound title, a belt previously held by the likes of Dan Hardy, Nicolas Dalby, and Pascal Krauss. After, become the 94th Cage Warriors fighter to sign with the UFC. Finally, become UFC champion.
While the final step of this is clearly some way off right now, an impressive showing on Saturday will move the prospect another step closer to challenging for Ross Houston’s 170-pound title. With no word on when Houston will defend his title next, following his bloodbath with Nicolas Dalby, it’s not entirely inconceivable that Garry could be fast-tracked for a shot at gold.
After that, who knows. We could be looking at Ireland’s next great fighting export.
A lot of people havnt seen the full video just incase you havnt here it is
Watch and enjoy 🙌🏻🤗 pic.twitter.com/Y7ekGWkRia
— ian Garry (@iangarryMMA) July 29, 2019