Ian Garry has opened up about sparring MMA icon Conor McGregor.
The UFC welterweight contender, who grew up idolising fellow Irishman McGregor, recently got the chance to share some rounds, and some food, with his hero.
‘Notorious’ shared some behind-the-scenes footage from the training sessions and now Garry has reflected on the time he spent with McGregor in Dublin.
“It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life,” he told The MMA Hour.
“Being a fan and being emotionally invested in everything that man did and then getting to have the ability to stand, train with the guy, talk to the guy, go and have dinner with the guy afterward.
“We met up three times and I feel like he’s my best mate now. I’ve never met someone who’s so like me in my life. Honestly, it’s nuts!”
The 25-year-old now considers McGregor a pal and says striking up a personal relationship with the UFC’s biggest star could prove valuable during his rise through the ranks.
Garry added: “The biggest takeaway from meeting Conor is the fact that I have a friendship now that I believe is very powerful and very special in someone who I can look up to and learn from.
“Someone who has done it all in the sport. Someone who’s had all the highs, all the lows. All the biggest things in the sport all have his name attached to it and he’s wanted to change the game more than anybody.
“To be able to have that friendship, it’s so powerful, it’s so special and I’m so grateful.”
Garry is expected to return to action at UFC 295 on November 11.
‘The Future’ called out Stephen Thompson after his latest win, but the welterweight veteran told talkSPORT he’s not interested in the matchup.
Despite that, Garry is still pursuing ‘Wonderboy’ and is excited about the prospect of potentially training with McGregor again to prepare for that fight.
“I would love to train with him for this camp. I would love to have that energy leading up to the fight because it’s fun, it’s a passion, it’s an excitement,” he said.
“That man, the energy that he brings to me, the energy that I bring to him, the fun that we could have leading up to a fight, in a heartbeat I would travel the world to spend a week with that man leading up to a fight.”
McGregor will need some decent training partners to prepare for his comeback fight.
The former dual-weight champion has been out injured since July 2021 but is expected to face lightweight contender Michael Chandler in the coming months.
‘Mystic Mac’ predicts they’ll clash at UFC 296 on December 16, but UFC president Dana White has suggested early 2024 as a more likely return date.
Either way, McGregor will get started with his camp very soon.