Matt Brown praises Ian Machado Garry as ‘championship f****** level material’

Ian Machado Garry has a lot riding on his performance at UFC 298.

His fight against Geoff Neal will not only give the welterweight prospect a chance to take a step up the rankings but it will also offer him the opportunity to put full focus back on his career after spending the last few months caught up in a storm of negativity, largely centered around comments made about his wife by fighters like Sean Strickland and Colby Covington. Garry never seemed to let anything get to him too much but he’ll be able to silence everybody with a great performance on Saturday.

That’s exactly what welterweight knockout king Matt Brown expects after he praised Garry ahead of his return this weekend.

“Ian Garry is championship f****** level material,” Brown said on The Fighter vs. The Writer. “I don’t give a f*** about all the sideshow s***. That dude is championship level, at least with the right matchups with the striking guys.

“I don’t know about his wrestling yet. I haven’t seen him on his back. I haven’t watched a lot of his fights to be honest but the ones that I have watched, they were striking battles, the dude looks f****** tremendous and he looks championship level.”

As impressive as Garry has looked through the early part of his UFC career, Neal will undoubtedly serve as his toughest test to date. The Contender Series veteran has remained a stalwart in the welterweight rankings for the past few years, earning wins over names like Belal Muhammad, Mike Perry and Vicente Luque.

He also gave undefeated contender Shavkat Rakhmonov his hardest fight to date after they engaged in a back-and-forth war before Neal was ultimately submitted late in the third round.

Stylistically, Brown still favors Garry over Neal, although he’s curious to see how the 26-year-old Irishman deals with a better level of competition.

“At this point, it’s all a mental game for him, at least for the Geoff Neal fight,” Brown explained. “Yeah, Geoff Neal’s got the power but I think Ian Garry has every skill to win this fight. Really, probably against anybody on the feet, at least from what I’ve seen so far. He hasn’t fought a guy like Geoff Neal either. A guy with his amount of skills and power. Geoff Neal could certainly come out and surprise us but everything we’ve seen from Ian Garry so far, he has championship level striking.

“Geoff Neal might go out there and shoot a f****** double leg on him. Why am I playing this game? If Ian Garry goes out there and performs to his ability, I’m not sure there’s anybody in the welterweight division that can strike with him.”

Brown won’t crown Garry as the best striker in the entire welterweight division just yet but he absolutely sees that kind of ability in him.

Of course, Garry will also eventually have to go through high level grapplers like Rakhmonov, Muhammad or even Gilbert Burns but there’s no doubt that his striking can hang with anyone.

“From what I’ve seen so far, he has the potential of [being the best striker at 170 pounds],” Brown said. “It’s just a matter of we haven’t seen him against the toughest matchups. We haven’t seen him against the Leon Edwards and the Vicente Luque’s or Geoff Neal’s. Once we see that, we’ll know but every arrow is pointing in that direction now, that is going to be the case.

“If you’re not taking him down, I don’t see anyone beating him right now. But someone like Geoff Neal could prove us wrong because we haven’t see him against that level of skill yet. But he’s done exactly what he’s supposed to do to the lesser skilled guys. So let’s see what he does against Geoff Neal. I think we’re going to find out a lot about him this weekend.”

As far as the potential distractions from fighters like Strickland or Covington targeting him again, Brown doesn’t expect that to really harm Garry at this stage of his career.

If anything, Brown believes that Garry could use all of that as a weapon to motivate him to train that much harder and get that much better to prove he’s the best in the world whether anybody likes it or not.

“I don’t know him as a person but from the outside looking in, the way his personality is, I bet it’s putting a chip on his shoulder,” Brown said. “He’s like ‘I’m going to go out there and beat the f*** out of you guys.’ He’s probably training even harder and wants this even more. He wants to prove everybody wrong.

“I think there’s a good potential this is giving him more fire up under his ass to go out there and put on great performances and beat the s*** out of some people.”

Listen to new episodes of The Fighter vs. The Writer every Tuesday with audio only versions of the podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and iHeartRadio

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