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Unbeaten UFC welterweight contender Ian Machado Garry has made no secret of his desire to feature on a fight card with his compatriot Conor McGregor.

Garry believed he had gotten his wish at this month’s UFC 303 in Las Vegas, where he is due to fight former Bellator standout Michael ‘Venom’ Page in a card that was to be headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler, before McGregor was removed from the card after sustaining an injury in preparation.

But with those plans having been delayed, Garry says that it has presented an even bigger opportunity: a UFC event in Dublin headlined by McGregor and co-main evented by Garry.

“The only reason I’m fighting anyone on June 29th is because I wanted to fight on the same card as Conor,” Garry said in an interview with Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie. “I wanted to represent Ireland, side by side with Conor, and do our country proud, the two biggest stars in the sport, in Ireland, representing our country on the biggest stage possible, breaking records in the UFC, which Conor already did and that’s what I wanted to do.”

But Garry’s plans for UFC 303 were dashed when he learned that McGregor was not available for the card.

“Dude, finding out Conor was out, I was on holiday playing golf I had no phone, no connection to social media, anything, my team told me when we finished the holiday ‘Oh yeah by the way, Conor’s out’, and I’m like, that sucks, I still have a job to go and do,” he said.

“Now I’m the one carrying the flag for Ireland, we were going to do it but I’m still going to do it, I’m going to go out there and prove that the fighting Irish are still in force and when we go to war, we go to war,” the 14-0 Garry added.

And given that — remarkably — it is approaching nine years since the UFC held a card in Ireland, Garry said this presents an opportunity for all parties.

“God has other plans, and God works in mysterious ways and I’m excited to see Conor back, and 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.”