Ian Garry Recalls How Training With Shavkat Rakhmonov Went

Ian Garry called for a fight with fellow undefeated welterweight Shavkat Rakhmonov after earning a unanimous decision win over Michael ‘Venom’ Page at UFC 303 on Saturday night, which led to his former training partner hinting that Garry had come off second-best when they sparred.

“Looks like Ian forgot what happened during those training sessions,” Rakhmonov responded after seeing Garry’s call-out at the weekend. “I don’t mind reminding him in the future.”

On Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour show, the 15-0 Garry had a chance to give his version of how his training sessions with the 18-0 Rakhmonov went.

“I don’t know what he’s talking about,” Garry claimed. “There was one. There was one I remember. We were tippy-tapping. We had a fight on the same night. It was when he fought Geoff Neal and I fought Kenan Song, and [Kill Cliff FC coach] Henri Hooft came over to me and goes, ‘I understand you two are both competitors, you both have a fight, both you are on the same team, go f*cking light. I want you to just touch each other, keep active, give each other good looks, and that sort of thing.’

“We sat there and we were playing around, moving, being good training partners, and I threw a right body kick at him and caught it, and he stepped back and looked at me and went BOOM [punching motion] to the f*cking rib. I was like, ‘You dirty littly c*nt! [Smiling.] You f*cker, you just took the wind out of my rib.’ I was like, ‘Alright, come on,’ but Henri said, ‘Stop it. Don’t be f*cking around, you two.’ It was playful, it was fun, but that’s it.”

That being said, Garry does acknowledge that Rakhmonov did get the better of him when they grappled together, though he believes he’s since levelled up his own ground game since then.

“When it comes to striking, I’m faster than him, I’m more technical than him, I’m more talented than him,” Garry said. “Is he amazing? Is he fearless? Absolutely. But I know for a fact, if this fight’s on the feet, I’m the one with the advantage.

“When it comes to grappling? He absolutely had the grappling advantage over me when we trained. He was a far superior grappler. I say ‘was’ because I’ve been doing a majority of work in Brazil focusing on becoming a far superior grappler.

As such, the No.7 ranked Garry is willing to put his unbeaten record on the line in the belief that a win over the No.3 placed Rakhmonov would put him in pole position for a title shot.

“I would love two more fights before fighting for the belt, but if the opportunity to fight Shavkat is there, if the opportunity to go out there and take that 0, finish him, dominate him, get my hand raised in any way, shape, or form, I think it has to be a No. 1 contender spot. I think it has to be the winner of the fight goes and fights for the belt next.”

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously FightOfTheNight.com) in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.