In the days and weeks leading up to the final UFC pay-per-view in 2023, Machado Garry has been caught up in a number of headline-grabbing stories, including the way he’s bounced around several gyms while trying to find a home for his recent training camp. The Irish prospect was famously booted out of UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards’ gym after the coaches and fighters ultimately decided he just wasn’t a good fit for their culture.
Part of the reason why Machado Garry has moved around of late is because of his fight with Luque, as the two previously trained together while both working out of Florida’s Kill Cliff FC gym. Despite all of the ways that Machado Garry has been painted in a negative light lately, Luque actually defended him after they spent a lot of time on the mats together.
“I know Ian quite well,” Luque told MMA Fighting. “I wouldn’t say we were friends that hung out outside of training, but in training we were always talking to each other, working with each other. Even in some fights, I was there and I believe he was there for one of mine. We were there for each other’s fight weeks, hanging out, talking about fights. I sparred him not in the last year but prior to this, I sparred a lot with him.
“I felt like we always had a very good relationship, very friendly. He’s a nice guy and we always had good conversations. We always try to point out things we could develop in each other’s games. It was always very good.”
As far as Machado Garry’s attitude in the gym, Luque couldn’t point to any issues he ever experienced during their time together while the Irishman was part of the team. Obviously, Luque can’t comment on what happened when Machado Garry visited Edwards’ gym, but he knows the kind of teammate he dealt with at Kill Cliff.
“The Leon [Edwards] thing, I don’t know anything about that,” Luque said. “I’m not looking to know anything about that because that’s his life, that’s Ian’s life. I wish the best for him. I wish the best for everyone always. As a teammate, when I was with him, he was always a very nice guy. A very cool guy to be around, very funny. He has positive energy all the time and a great training partner.
“Really competitive in training in the sense of, he put it out there [that] he wasn’t going to just be relaxing and not working hard, and that’s what we value here. We like to go hard here. We like to go realistic. So I would say he was a good teammate for me, always.”
Just after their fight was announced, Machado Garry posted a conversation he shared with Luque about the matchup and how this was just business for them.
When Machado Garry posted the audio clip online, there was some question of whether or not Luque actually gave permission for a private conversation to be shared publicly, but the veteran welterweight quickly shut down that rumor.
“He did talk to me about,” Luque said. “It was a voice message exchange. I sent him a voice message, he sent them back to me and we had the conversation. As soon as we had everything said and done, I just wanted to have that idea like, ‘On my side, I’m all cool with this, I’m not taking it personal but in there we’re going to compete.’ I want the best Ian and I’m telling you, you’re going to have the best Luque out there. That was the extent of the conversation, and after that, Ian was very happy with the respect and everything.
“He asked me if he could share it and I said, yeah for sure, go ahead. I don’t have problems with sharing whatever I say.”
As far as the future goes, Luque can’t say for certain if Machado Garry might return to Kill Cliff after they fight on Saturday, but he would have no problem if that happened.
He points to a similar situation that came up when Kamaru Usman left their gym when he was scheduled to defend his welterweight title against Gilbert Burns. While Usman set up a new training camp in Colorado, he has since returned to train at Kill Cliff FC on a regular basis and Luque once again considers him a teammate he can count on.
“Kamaru left the team to go fight Gilbert and then he has his new way to train, but now he comes here and he trains with us,” Luque said. “He’s still going to go [to Colorado] but he trains here, he’s part of the team in a way and he works with Henri [Hooft].
“Depending on how everything is handled, and how Ian feels about it and how the coaches here feel about it, I think for sure he could come back to train. It’s all about how everything is handled.”
When it comes to the fight itself, Luque feels like he knows Machado Garry very well from the time they spent training together, not to mention hours upon hours of sparring.
While he compliments Machado Garry as a very talented striker, Luque is quick to point out that he comes from a similar background but ultimately possesses more weapons in his arsenal than just seeking a knockout.
“His striking is high level,” Luque said. “He’s a really talented guy. He knows how to use his range. He’s very fast. It was always surprising to train with him, it’s one of the reasons I sparred with him so much when he was here at the same time. I really wanted to get that feel and improve my own game, because at the same time, I’m a well-rounded guy but my first go-to is striking. I consider myself a striker as well.
“I see myself beating him in the striking as well if that’s the path I seek in the fight, but I’m going to keep it open. I might strike. I might go down to the floor and try to explore that. The thing is keeping it on my terms, taking the fight where I want it to be. I definitely think that I’m the more versatile fighter. I have more tools. I have more ways to win.”