Ian Machado Garry reacts to Stephen Thompson allegedly turning down fight against him

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Ian Machado Garry isn’t losing faith in his chosen opponent for his next fight, even if UFC president Dana White says otherwise.

Immediately after securing a one-sided unanimous decision over Neil Magny at UFC 292, Garry turned his attention towards a potential showdown with Stephen Thompson in his continued pursuit to prove he’s the best striker in the welterweight division. At the event’s post-fight press conference, White claimed that the offer was already made to “Wonderboy” for a bout against Garry, however the two-time title challenger allegedly declined.

While Thompson hasn’t addressed White’s comments directly, the 25-year-old Irish contender still believes the matchup he called for will eventually come together, even if that means waiting past a proposed date at UFC 295 in November.

“I think there’s every possibility this fight happens,” Garry told MMA Fighting. “It makes so much sense for this fight to materialize for the fans, for the UFC, the buildup to the fight. The excitement that this fight would generate for the UFC fans, for the organization, it would be phenomenal — and to do it on a card like [Madison Square Garden in New York], to be able to do it on the pay-per-view in December, or to be able to headline a Fight Night in an arena somewhere would be even better.

“I am excited to fight ‘Wonderboy’ and I believe that this matchup will materialize. I believe God works in very, very beautiful ways, and for some reason, I end up getting everything I want. So my energy, everything that I have is absolutely expecting that ‘Wonderboy’ fight to be the contract put down in front of me soon. I’m just going to sit here and wait. He said no yesterday, today’s a different day.”

Beyond the undefeated résumé he’s built thus far in his career, Garry has also started earning a reputation as a master at mental warfare. He vigorously attacked both Magny and Geoff Neal — his original opponent at UFC 292 — outside of the cage before they ever set foot inside of the cage together.

The strategy seemed to work against the usually cool, calm, and collected Magny. As for Neal, Garry believes a t-shirt he started selling with a mugshot featuring the veteran UFC welterweight following an arrest from 2021 is what led to his withdrawal from their fight.

When it comes to “Wonderboy,” however, Garry has no plans to stir up some imaginary grudge just to build up anticipation for the fight. In fact, he actually has a personal relationship with Thompson already, which is why he’s quick to point out that his desire for that fight is just business and nothing personal.

“I know ‘Wonderboy’ as a friend,” Garry said. “He knows my family. We have worked together on Karate Combat. We have spent time with each other. My wife and him worked together on Karate Combat and they do shows. He has met my kid. We have talked. We have chilled out. He is an amazing guy. I am not fighting ‘Wonderboy’ because of malice, because of bad intentions. I’m fighting ‘Wonderboy’ out of the highest of respect.

“What the man has done and achieved as primarily a striker in this sport is sensational — 57-0 as a kickboxer, goes out there in MMA and does all of his tricks in the cage and proves how good he is every time he gets in that octagon, just how good a striker he is. I’m going out there to compete against one of the best strikers the world has ever seen. That is what excites me about this opponent, this fight. It isn’t malice, there will be nothing but respect. I just want to go out there and prove I’m the best striker in the world, and to do that, I have to beat ‘Wonderboy.’”

Thompson’s most recent scheduled fight against Michel Pereira was cancelled after Pereira failed to make weight. Afterward, Thomspon expressed a desire to face a higher-ranked opponent rather than clashing with another welterweight just trying to take his spot.

As it stands, Garry sits behind “Wonderboy” as well, but there’s no denying the star power he’s been building since first arriving in the UFC, which changes the narrative surrounding their potential matchup.

“For ‘Wonderboy,’ there’s a lot of pull there as well, but also you know that I’m a striker at heart,” Garry said. “We’ve seen the Kevin Holland-‘Wonderboy’ fight. We’ve seen the way the fans in that stadium erupted when those two started striking. It’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be mesmerizing. It’s going to be so f****** exciting for any single fan that has bought a ticket to the me and ‘Wonderboy’ fight that will happen, it’s going to be amazing.

“I believe for ‘Wonderboy,’ there is just as much pull for me to fight ‘Wonderboy’ as there is for ‘Wonderboy’ to fight me. I’m known. I’m undefeated. I’m a prospect that everyone is talking about as potentially being a future champion. I’m a striker. So ‘Wonderboy’ knows I’m going not try to grab his legs and wrestle him. He knows that I want to prove I’m the better striker. So he knows what he’s getting into.”

Rather than just accept White’s declaration that “Wonderboy” passed on him, Garry is continuing to push for the fight in hopes that he’ll hear a different answer in the near future.

Until he knows for certain that there’s no chance the “Wonderboy” fight will happen, Garry is only interested in that particular matchup.

“Why not take it?” Garry said. “Why not go out there, say yes, sign the dotted line, fight me over five rounds and prove who the best striker in this division is. The only reason he would say no is because he knows who’s better.”

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