Ian Garry on the message he received from Dublin GAA star before his UFC win
"This is the future, right here!"
Ian Garry has been riding on the crest of a wave for the past week, and he is in his element.
As UFC debuts go, scoring a highlight reel first-round KO at Madison Square Garden before cutting an impressive promo that included Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather and Muhammad Ali takes some beating.
The 23-year-old stopped Jordan Williams with a beauty of a punch in the closing seconds of the first round of his first fight in the UFC. After moving to 8-0 in the professional game, Garry had McGregor hailing him on social media and vowing to help lead the charge for an Irish takeover 2.0.
The messages that really affected Ian Garry
Two days after that UFC 268 victory, Garry was a studio guest for the highly popular Ariel Helwani-hosted show 'The MMA Hour'.
During a wide-ranging chat with the veteran MMA journalist, Garry spoke of the whole week around UFC 268, his post-fight message from McGregor and how he plans to turn the fight game on its' head - in the welterweight division, at least - in 2022.
Asked about all the messages and calls he received after his big win at MSG, the Dubliner said one from a Dublin GAA star - received before the fight - ranked right up there with the voice notes from McGregor.
"I got a message from a friend of mine that I don't speak to that much, because he's very busy and our paths don't often cross.
"He's a friend of mine and he's doing really well in an Irish sport - he plays for the Dublin team. That's massive, back home. It basically means you're a superstar.
"And he just sent me a message that really made me think, and I was like, 'WOW!'
"When we were kids - 4, 5 and 6 years old - we played Gaelic football on a pitch in a park. The pitch was called 'Pitch 9'. He sent me a message saying, 'Well, lad, from Pitch 9 to Madison Square Garden, everything is going well!'
"I just thought, 'Holy shit'. That's a long time ago but it's also not. I can remember every part of my childhood, and where it got me to now. And it really made me think."
That message and one from an old colleague that was involved with Cage Warriors, with whom he was welterweight champion with, stood out for the young fighter.
Garry is good friends with Raheny and Dublin footballer Brian Howard and has joked, in the past, the he is his 'brother from another mother'.
Following his victory, Garry says he used his fighters' pass to go back into the arena at Madison Square Garden and take in the main event card, which featured a few barnstormers and title fights.
"I said down there with my mask and suit on and thought, 'I'm just going to enjoy these fights!'"
There were some fans in attendance that recognised him and asked for photographs, but he was largely left to himself.
If he keeps up the winning run, he may soon find plenty more people are stopping him for photos and autographs.