Europe’s hottest prospect Ian Garry is the pick of the bunch along with Alex Pereira – the only man to ever knock out Israel Adesanya.
Garry and Pereira, competing at 170 and 185 pounds respectively, will both make their debuts on the prelim card of Kamaru Usman‘s clash against Colby Covington at Madison Square Garden in New York, the home of the New York Knicks.
Dubliner Garry, 23, is one of the youngest fighters on the roster after being signed by the UFC aged 23 back in June.
Since he made his debut in February 2019 there’s been a lot of hype around the Portmanock-born, Florida-based martial artist and amateur standout, and for good reason, too.
He’s already been likened to a certain Conor McGregor, and even used his most recent victory over Jack Grant to show off his impressive array of skills.
Now, Bisping and McGregor have had a bitter falling out, with insults hurled from either side.
So when it was put to him that he and McGregor don’t exactly see eye to eye anymore, he couldn’t resist taking a potshot at the Notorious, saying: “Conor is very short, we would never see eye to eye you know, I’ve got no choice but to look down on him!”
But even Bisping can’t help but notice the similarities between Garry and McGregor – and has tipped the young prospect for the very top.
He told GIVEMESPORT: “Ian has certainly got all the ingredients, if you will, for stardom.
“He’s got off to a great start, he’s undefeated, that’s what you want to see. He certainly has a higher ceiling than McGregor in terms of talent.
“He’s a former Cage Warriors champion, it’s a great pedigree to have traditionally, history has shown us a lot of Cage Warriors champions have done well. Joanna Jedrzejczyk, myself, McGregor, Dan Hardy, you know, the list goes on.
“So in that regard, you know, stylistically it’s all there, and he’s making his debut at Madison Square Garden. It doesn’t get any bigger than that. I mean, what a card to make your debut on.
“If he goes out there and he has a stunning performance, and then rocks it on the microphone and at the post-fight press conference, next Monday we could have a star on our hands.
“Undefeated, 23 years old, fighting at Madison Square Garden… Son of a b—-, take me back, I’m jealous. I’m very excited to watch him fight in the flesh for real.”
Meanwhile Pereira, 34, will fight Andreas Michailidis, 33, in the featured prelim bout right before the main card starts at approximately 2am BST.
The only fighter ever to defeat Adesanya twice, the Brazilian has dynamite in his hands.
‘Po Atan’ – which literally translates to ‘Stone Hand’ – famously knocked out the Last Stylebender at Glory of Heroes 7 in March 2017 – a night both men still remember to this day.
“You know Izzy’s watching this one very closely,” Bisping continued.
“And he’s like, for crying out loud, the guy that kicked my a– twice, is now signed with the UFC.
“Now, you’ve got to remember they’re different sports, you know, but ultimately, that is how Adesanya fights.
“He fights like a kickboxer with some takedown defence, and Adesanya is not going to be taking him down but other people that fight Pereira, they are going to try and take him down.
“The guy that knocked out Izzy? Of course, take him down all day long.
“But if I was running the UFC, you kind of want him to win, and he’s going to get fast-tracked to a title shot if he does because the footage is there.
“The UFC are so good at creating these packages, and if you’ve got Izzy getting knocked out and beaten twice by this guy? C’mon, that’s a marketing dream.”
Watch UFC 268: Usman v Covington 2 exclusively live on BT Sport 1 from 2am on Saturday 6th November. For more info go to www.bt.com/sport/ufc