Ian Machado Garry could be set for an incredible homecoming soon.
The welterweight contender scored the biggest win of his career at UFC Charlotte, becoming the first fighter to knock out Daniel Rodriguez when he put the veteran down in Round 1. Machado Garry improved his professional record to 12-0 and 5-0 in the UFC. More important, he further established himself as a star on the rise.
Though he was thrilled with the reception he received in Charlotte, Machado Garry agreed with the suggestion that a fight in his hometown of Dublin would take his fame to another level.
“If I’m getting Irish support in Ireland, in Dublin, there’s never going to be anywhere else where it’s going to be louder than when I’m at home and I feel like the Irish deserve the support,” Machado Garry said on The MMA Hour. “The Irish deserve the crowd, they deserve the show of the UFC coming back to Ireland. We’ve done so much for the sport. The sport is booming right now at the moment. I’m absolutely smashing it. I’m going to be ranked 15 tomorrow.
“You’ve obviously got Conor on the comeback, whenever he’s back against Chandler. And then you look at it, we’ve got three Cage Warriors Irish Champions. We’ve got Caolan Loughran, we’ve got Paul Hughes, we’ve got Rhys McKee. Those boys are all on the verge of signing for the UFC now, so it is inevitable that the UFC are going to come back. They’re going to come back to Ireland and I’m the guy who is going to make it happen and I’m excited for it. I believe that after this fight, when I beat Neil Magny, when I smoke someone else in that top 15, that I’m going to be able to pull them back to Europe to get that Irish base breathing again. To get everybody hype, get that fire burning, and then watch all these guys follow behind me to the UFC and just set the stage alight again.”
The UFC has held three cards in Dublin, most famously an event on July 19, 2014, that was headlined by Machado Garry’s fellow Dubliner Conor McGregor and Diego Brandao. McGregor defeated Brandao by first-round TKO, sending the Irish crowd into a frenzy. It remains a signature moment in the career of McGregor, who went on to win two UFC titles and achieve global superstardom.
Up next for McGregor, he fights Michael Chandler with a date and location still to be determined following the airing of The Ultimate Fighter 31, which features the fighters as opposing coaches.
Machado Garry said he hasn’t heard any specific plans to return to Dublin (the most recent event there took place in October 2015), but when it happens, he’s determined to be the man at the top of the marquee.
“I told them that I want them back and [UFC President] Dana [White] sat and said, ‘I know, we’ll work on it. We’ll try,’” he said. “That’s all he can say. He’s kind of a bit of a yes man, he has to say yes at that point in time, but I believe that he’s absolutely going to make it happen. I believe when you see the star power that I possess, in Charlotte, when you see the performance that I showed up with and you think about that was the best opponent I’ve ever fought in many people’s minds. That was against the toughest guy I’ve ever fought in many people’s minds. Why wouldn’t we go and do that in Ireland and why wouldn’t we go and do it against someone who’s going to bring in the fans? … Could you imagine me vs. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson as the main event in Dublin, Ireland, and then stack the card with Irish and European talent from top to bottom. You wouldn’t have to sell any other fighters, you just have me and Wonderboy and it would sell it out.
“So it makes so much sense, and I believe Dana will bring us back, and I believe he will make a return to Ireland at one point in time, early next year I believe. It’s on me to keep pushing for that. It’s for me to put my nation on my back and carry them through and keep winning and show them that I want them back. I said to [journalist] Seán Sheehan before my fight in Cage Warriors: Cork, my third professional fight. I said I’m going to be the guy that brings the UFC back to Dublin. I’m going to be that guy, I’m him. And I’m this f****** close. I’m this close. So it’s exciting.”