Are you wondering who the best Irish UFC fighters are?
In this article, we’ll list the 5 best Irish UFC fighters of all time and go through their credentials, records, longevity, fighting skills, and who they beat and lost to.
Best Irish UFC Fighters
This list includes fighters from both Ireland and Northern Ireland as they’re both considered Irish.
The 5 best Irish UFC Fighters are:
- Conor McGregor
- Ian Garry
- Norman Parke
- Joseph Duffy
- Patrick Holohan
1. Conor McGregor (22-6)
Height: 5’9” | Reach: 74” | Stance: Southpaw | Weight Class: Lightweight
The biggest star the sport of MMA has seen and likely will see for many more years, Conor McGregor is easily the best Irish UFC fighter in terms of skill, mental warfare, and his ability to sell fights and bring fans to the sport.
Conor McGregor was the first UFC fighter to hold simultaneous UFC titles (double champ), after claiming the featherweight and lightweight belts. Prior to joining the UFC, he was also the Cage Warriors featherweight and lightweight champion.
Conor McGregor will forever remain the best Irish UFC fighter for the following reasons:
- Controls the range with his jab and long reach of 74” and baits opponents into his Sniper-like counterpunches, especially with crosses/straights
- Great head movement where he often leans slightly forward so he’s ready to defend takedowns
- Mixing in a variety of kicks: half-moon, push, roundhouse, spinning back/hook kicks, and calf kicks
- Boxing-heavy style with brilliant timing, speed, power, and precision – of 19 knockout wins, 17 have been by way of punches, 1 a corner stoppage (TKO), and the other via elbows.
- Swift footwork for his evasive lateral and in-and-out movements
- Trash-talking and mental warfare in the build-up to a fight
In his UFC career, he’s beaten Dustin Poirier, Max Holloway, Nate Diaz, Donald Cerrone, Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, and Diego Brandao. On the other hand, he’s lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz, and Dustin Poirier twice.
Overall, Conor McGregor has a UFC record of 10-4 and is by far the best Irish UFC fighter of all time for his ability in and out of the octagon.
2. Ian Garry (13-0)
Height: 6’3” | Reach: 74” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Welterweight
Ian Garry joined the UFC in 2021 at 23 years old, shortly after becoming the Cage Warriors welterweight champion, and is one of the best Irish UFC fighters because of the potential he has.
He began boxing at 10 years old and soon took up judo, where he earned a black belt at just 18 years old. He relocated to South Florida on August 1st, 2021, for top-level training at Sanford MMA (Kill Cliff FC) under Henri Hooft and Greg Jones, and is currently 5-0 in the UFC and undefeated in MMA (12-0).
So far in his career, Ian Garry’s best skills are:
- Great height and reach for a welterweight help with his piston-like jab, where he’s also great at adding a high roundhouse behind it
- Great variety of strikes, location of strikes, and the ability to mix and adapt tempo very well
- Mixes in subtle feints and kicks so well, whether it a be high roundhouse, oblique, push, or calf kick
- Very technical and very good at understanding his range, and fighting smart enough while taking chances when they arise and with offbeat timing
- Great timing with his counter straight right
- Great circling/lateral movement to avoid being stuck against the cage
Ian Garry has beaten Kenan Song, Gabriel Green, Jordan Williams, Daniel Rodriguez, and Neil Magny in the UFC so far, with tougher competition to come.
Garry needs to tighten his defense up if he’s to become a top 10 welterweight because he’s been rocked a few times early in his UFC career and against stiffer competition he’ll get knocked out. He tends to back up with his lands low and get caught by combinations.
3. Norman Parke (31-7-1-1NC)
Height: 5’11” | Reach: 70” | Stance: Southpaw | Weight Class: Lightweight
Norman Parke is the former Cage Contender lightweight champion and winner of the TUF: The Smashes lightweight tournament. He was also an Irish national champion in both freestyle wrestling and judo, before transitioning to MMA at 20 years old.
Norman Parke’s best skills are:
- A very high 77% takedown defense in 9 UFC fights – he has a strong base and fast sprawling ability – as well as a great ability to spring back to his feet if taken down
- Impressive 64% striking defense – Parke has only lost once by knockout in 40 professional MMA fights
- Very strong in the clinch which he uses to wear down opponents and look for trips and sweeps
- Throws effective knees and elbows in the clinch
- Mixing up combinations
- Great cardiovascular endurance – rarely do you see him tire in the cage
His best wins in the UFC came against Naoyuki Kotani and Reza Madadi, while he lost to Gleison Tibau and Francisco Trinaldo by split decision and twice to Mateusz Gamrot outside of the UFC.
Despite securing 4 wins and 1 draw in his first 5 UFC fights, Norman Parke was later released by the UFC following a third decision loss in four fights, which took his UFC record to 5-3-1. He’s since gone on to fight for the biggest MMA promotion in Europe, KSW.
4. Joseph Duffy (16-5)
Height: 5’10” | Reach: 73” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Lightweight
Joseph Duffy entered the UFC a huge prospect, having beaten both Conor McGregor and Norman Parke in Cage Warriors. His martial arts journey began with taekwondo and Japanese jiu-jitsu, where he earned a black belt in both, followed by MMA before starting a career as a professional boxer.
He won his first 10 boxing bouts but transitioned back to MMA as it was his childhood dream and he now had a very good mix of martial arts. When he made his UFC debut at 27 years old, he’d just moved to Canada to train at Tristar Gym under one of the best MMA coaches, Firas Zihabi.
Joseph Duffy’s best skills were:
- Great head movement which you can see developed from his time spent boxing, as well as a unique unconventional movement overall
- Great combinations and speed of boxing from various angles
- Control of distance with the use of a frame before firing jabs and crosses
- Killer instinct – in 16 wins he finished 14, of which 13 were in the first round – 10 submissions and 4 knockouts
- Power in his punches, kicks, and knees and has great technique with submissions
In the UFC, Joe Duffy beat the likes of Ivan Jorge and Reza Madadi, and outside of it he most famously beat Conor McGregor, while he lost to Dustin Poirier, Marc Diakiese, and Joel Alvarez – three top-level fighters.
The fight against Dustin Poirier showed the striking ability of Joe Duffy to be very high, as Poirier is one of the best and he was continuously shooting for takedowns. Duffy also locked up a triangle but unfortunately ran out of time at the end of the third round.
Because of who he’d lost to, the UFC was willing to give Duffy time, but Duffy had lost confidence and decided to retire from MMA in 2020 with a UFC record of 4-4.
5. Patrick Holohan (12-2-1)
Height: 5’10” | Reach: 69” | Stance: Orthodox | Weight Class: Flyweight
Also known as Paddy, Holohan is another Irish UFC fighter who showed a lot of promise but who unfortunately had his MMA journey cut short due to being diagnosed with a rare blood disorder known as Factor 13 deficiency. He earned a UFC contract 6 months after competing on TUF: Season 18.
While he was fighting, Paddy Holohan’s best attributes were:
- Very tall for a flyweight at 5’10”, which he used to his advantage with his ability to secure submissions – 8 of 12 wins came this way
- Putting a relentless grappling pace on the opponent as he continually tried to get the fight to the ground
- Very offensive on the ground by chaining submission attempts
- Explosiveness with transitions on the ground
In his short 2 year UFC career, Patrick Holohan beat Josh Sampo, Shane Howell, and Vaughan Lee, while losing to Chris Kelades and Louis Smolka for a 3-2 UFC record.
Here are two other Irish UFC fighters who would have made the list had it been longer.
- Neil Seery: 3-4 UFC Record
- Cathal Pendred: 4-2 UFC Record