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Garry reacts to McGregor's UFC 303 withdrawal: 'I'm carrying that flag'

Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Ian Machado Garry was understandably disappointed when Conor McGregor withdrew from UFC 303.

Garry, who's from Ireland and began his MMA career at the peak of the McGregor era, has dreamt of fighting on the same card as his countryman for years. That was finally supposed to happen June 29 in Las Vegas - until McGregor pulled out of his fight against Michael Chandler last week after suffering an injury in training.

"The only reason I'm fighting anyone on June 29 is because I wanted to fight on the same card as Conor," Garry told MMA Junkie's Mike Bohn. "I wanted to represent Ireland side by side with Conor. And to do our country proud. The two biggest stars in mixed martial arts in Ireland representing our country on the biggest stage possible."

Garry is scheduled to open up the UFC 303 main card in a pivotal welterweight matchup against Michael "Venom" Page. Garry said he learned of McGregor's withdrawal upon returning from a recent vacation.

"I still have to go out there, and I have to go out and prove that I am the best fighter in the welterweight division. ... I have to go out there and do it in beautiful fashion," Garry said.

Being the only Irish fighter on UFC 303 gives Garry an even greater sense of responsibility.

"Now I'm the one carrying the flag for Ireland," Garry said. "We were gonna do it, but I'm still doing it. I'm gonna go out there, and I'm gonna prove that the fighting Irish are still in force, that we're gonna do it together, and that when we go to war, we go to war. And I'm carrying that flag."

Garry, who's seeking his eighth straight UFC victory, is choosing to take an optimistic stance about McGregor pulling out of UFC 303. Garry hopes it means he can share an event in Dublin with "The Notorious" in the near future.

"Being that kid in Dublin, going into school every Monday morning talking about Conor's press conferences and Conor's fights ... (and then) to be sat on the same stage as him at the press conference, and then step into the same Octagon as him that night, and go out there and represent our country on the biggest stage possible, it would've been a dream come true," Garry said. "But God has other plans. And God works in mysterious ways. ... Maybe, just maybe, this means we get our Ireland event. Maybe this means we get to bring it back to Ireland, and we can main and co-main together."

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