WHOA TV caught up with Ian Garry for a quick Q+A before he competes at Cage Warriors Unplugged 2 from the BT Studios in Stratford, London this evening. A number of topics were discussed including his late notice change in opponent, what training at Team KF is like and his plans for the future.
How did you first get into MMA?
I always liked combat sports when I was younger so I trained boxing and judo where I later received my black belt. Also, I’ve fought at the highest level of boxing in Ireland but both single disciplines didn’t really do it for me. There was always a part of myself that wanted to do different things and then I saw the UFC on TV just before Conor was getting big. Not long after, the hype around him blew up which was around the same time when I broke my arm and got my tonsils removed because I had tonsillitis. Those two things put me out of action for quite some time. When I finally got back to training again it just didn’t feel the same and I didn’t have the same love for those sports. That’s when I decided I wanted to do MMA. I did a few sessions and fell in love with it. I haven’t looked back since. I’m obsessed with everything to do with it.
How would you evaluate your professional debut against James Sheehan back in February?
If I’m evaluating it, I’d say my fight against James Sheehan was tactical and clinical. I had to pick my shots as James is so so tough and durable. He walked through my punches and kept coming forwards. Unfortunately, I couldn’t throw power in my right hand due to the injury I suffered. I wanted to land it and make him think it was still there even though I was having to persevere. As soon as I broke the hand, I had to tactically pick him apart and set a pace that would tire him out. All in all, it was a very good performance and I’m happy with it. I’ve watched it back many times and I’ve picked out parts that I would change if I was fighting that fight now.
He appeared to clip you in the third round. How hurt were you?
He caught me with a nice shot to the body and it stung. I wouldn’t say I was in any way near finished. It was just a moment when I clenched up because it was sore but it wasn’t anything major. I knew that I didn’t want to get clipped again so I knew I had to be smart and take him down. There was no way he was finishing me on the ground with only a minute to go even if he did have the better grappling. I went with my instincts and took him down.
You’ve had a last minute change in opponent for Friday evening. Has this altered your approach or preparation at all?
The late notice opponent change hasn’t annoyed me in anyway or hasn’t had any impact on my preparations. I don’t prepare for a certain opponent due to the fact that in this game people pull out a lot. Many people run scared. In our camp, my coach will give me a few things that he’d like me to work on to help me towards someone’s style. My opponent was 5’8 and my new one is now 5’10 but they have similar styles. They both look to take people down and beat them on the ground. My mindset is still exactly the same. It’s the same game but a different name. I have a job to do and I’ll go out and do it. I’m looking to make a statement and leave my name in people’s mouths at the end of the show.
What is training at Team KF in Ireland like?
Team KF are slowly becoming one of the best teams in Europe. Our MMA team is right up there with other gyms in Ireland and is one of, if not the best. Our coaches are definitely the best in the country without a shadow of a doubt. The fighters pick up things so quickly and that’s bringing us to a different level. This year we’ve got a massive group of lads fighting and by the end of the year, come 2020, you’re going to see Team KF take over. The main fighters I work with are Chris Fields, James Webb, Konrad Iwanowski and Paul Lawrence. They are all big, strong lads who are roughly around my weight. Cathal Pendred comes down a lot to help us out during camps so I train with a lot of high calibre teammates. They only push me and make me a better fighter with their knowledge.
Not that long ago, you went viral with a video you posted online which featured your Grandad. It showed him singing along with you to a song. What made you post the video?
Originally, I put a video of my Nanna up first and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. However, I knew the one about my grandad would have been a hell of a lot better and people would have enjoyed it even more. I thought ‘F**k it!’ I’m going to post this and see how many people react to it. It just started going and going and going and going. I was looking at the numbers thinking ‘Holy S**t!’ This is literally going viral. My grandad thinks we are famous now so it’s brilliant. My mum rang me and said that if I’d put that video up on YouTube, I would’ve got about three grand for it but it’s not about the money. It’s about showing people something that will make their day which is all it was about.
What do you want to have achieved by the end of this year?
I set myself goals every January and I set myself a this year. Obviously, I wanted to make my debut which was done in February. I haven’t fought in six months because the broken hand was a bit of a setback. My opponent then pulling out in London was another obstacle so I should really have had two fights in that space of time. The cards fell that way and I just have to play the hand that I’m dealt. I want three fights in the next three months which is what I’m going for. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll be p****d off but at the end of the day, my health is most important. If I’m not fit to fight, I’m not going to rush myself back in. I want to hit September 28th in Liverpool if I can as long as I get no bumps and bruises from this fight. Then I want one more before the end of the year as well. If all goes to plan, I want to take out a big name at the start of next year to let everyone know that I’m in title contention. I need to be active as I am young. I want to show everyone this year that I mean business and then during 2020, I will be the champion.
Cage Warriors Unplugged 2 can be watched live on BT Sport 1 tonight from 6:30pm for preliminary action. The main card, including Garry’s fight, begins at 9pm on the same channel.
Image courtesy of Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors.