Ian Machado Garry has been the talk of the MMA world this past month but not for his fighting abilities.
UFC 296 fight week is officially underway and the event will close out the promotion’s 2023 calendar in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night. The featured bout atop the billing sees the return of the defending welterweight champion Leon Edwards, who looks to fend off two-time title challenger Colby Covington. Before the battle for gold goes down in the octagon, several other notable 170-pound contenders will look to advance their positions within the weight class, including Ireland’s Garry.
The undefeated 13-0 Garry continues to ascend the rankings and a big win over Vicente Luque will further cement his status as “The Future.” However, the 26-year-old has made headlines in recent months for getting banned from Team Renegade in England where he used to train with the champion Edwards. On top of that, Garry and his wife Layla Anna-Lee became a topic of conversation when her decade-old book How To Be A WAG surfaced online, leading to confrontations with UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland amongst other types of online harassment, according to Garry.
Having watched Garry’s career closely before the UFC when he fought in Cage Warriors, veteran analyst and one-time UFC welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy believes all this noise is a negative.
“Honestly, I feel bad for the kid. He’s a good fighter and that’s been overshadowed by all of the drama in his personal life,” Hardy told Submission Radio (h/t Low Kick MMA). “Any interaction I’ve had with him was always good. I saw him several times at Cage Warriors. I called a couple of his fights. He’s a very skilled and talented fighter. He had great coaches back in the day who really instilled a good skill set into him.
“But there was a point in his career where things started to go south and they went south very quickly from what I can tell from people around him that I’ve spoken to. It just seems like his life was being guided by other people, which is a real shame because, for a young man with so much potential, I feel like his potential is being undermined by the drama that’s being created around him.”
Garry had already begun to get on the bad side of the community dating back to his previous victory over Neil Magny at UFC 292 in August. Originally scheduled to clash with Geoff Neal at the event, Garry was infamously seen in public wearing a t-shirt with Neal’s mugshot on it from a DUI incident he had in 2021. As soon as Magny entered Neal’s place, Garry shifted his focus promptly, claiming Magny was an abusive father after comments made toward the young Irishman in the build-up to the fight. Garry defeated Magny via unanimous decision.
Hardy doesn’t feel these antics have been indicators of Garry’s character in the grand scheme. Ultimately, it all may just add more pressure to the big moment coming up.
“I don’t think he’s a mean person, necessarily,” Hardy continued. “I don’t think he’s vindictive in any way. I think some of the things he says are not very well thought out. Some of the things he does are potentially put in his mind, or on his shirt by other people, you could say.
“I feel sorry for him and I feel like his potential is being stifled because of this unnecessary drama around and other people trying to steal the limelight, or create a limelight for themselves. I feel like it’s a lot of weight going into this weekend’s fight against Vicente Luque.”
Possibilities. Colby Covington would ‘love to slap Sean Strickland around’ after UFC 296 title win
Audio. UFC 296 broadcast team set for Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington event
The MMA Hour.
UFC 296 Embedded 1.
Powerhouse Playback: Claudia Gadelha.
DJ breaks down the title fight.
And training camp has officially arrived… ბრძოლოლისთვის მზადება ოფიციალურად დღეს დაიწყო. ))) pic.twitter.com/HRtiNAZZRi
— Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) December 11, 2023
Garry hasn’t struck me as one to be distracted by all the outside drama, but I guess we’ll find out in the coming days and on Saturday.
Thanks for reading!
Who wins this weekend?
Ian Machado Garry
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This story originally appeared on MMA fighting