Gregor Gillespie loves to fight locally. He loves being able to see his family and friends immediately after the conclusion of his bouts, which have all ended with Gillespie’s hand being raised. But the real reason that 11 of his 12 professional fights have taken place on the United States’ east coast is simple: Fishing.
“As you guys know I like fish. I like to get fishing the next day,” Gillespie said. “So if I'm in like Poland or something and I have to fly for two days and then drive at other six hours home from New York, I won't be able to fish for three days. I love fighting locally so I can literally fish the day after which I'll be doing on Sunday. I’ll drive from Brooklyn to upstate New York and we're gonna have to see if there's any open water it might all be frozen.
Then we'll just drill a hole in the ice.”
Gillespie’s mentality toward fishing is similar to his fight game approach. He uses his dominant wrestling to drag his opponents into deep water and he wears them out with his high-output before finishing the fight.
The similarities don’t stop there. Gillespie believes that in order to be successful at both fishing and fighting, individuals must possess a specific discipline.
“Patience. I guess you have to be patient in both,” Gillespie said. “You know there are opportunities you have to jump on and there’s opportunities that you have to wait for.”
At 12-0, with performance bonuses in three of his five UFC fights and ten victories by finish, Gillespie patience has paid off so far earning him the No. 15 ranking in the lightweight division.
On Saturday Gillespie takes on Hawaiian Yancy Medeiros on the main card of the UFC’s first ever ESPN event. When asked about his opponent, “The Gift” made it clear that while he expects Medeiros to be well prepared for that Octagon to close, he will be just as ready no matter how the fight goes.
“I’ll be prepared Saturday night and I’m sure he’ll be prepared too. If it’s a finish, fantastic. I’m going for a finish no matter who the opponent,” Gillespie said. “No matter where they are on the talent latter. But if it goes to a 15-minute war I’m prepared for that too.”
Gillespie’s in-fight adjustments and fight IQ are special. His ability to dissect what’s happening during a fight is part of the reason why he has five wins by KO/TKO and five wins by submission. It’s that aggressive yet calculated style that makes Gillespie so good.
“It's no secret that I wrestled and I was pretty good at it,” Gillespie said. “But I think if you put a hard high pace on someone that any of the best guys have a really high pace and high output. If you couple that with a really a specific skill set that you're really good at, now you're dangerous.”
2019 could be a huge year for Gillespie and while he knows that Medeiros is a great opportunity to gain traction in the lightweight division, Gillespie isn’t looking for bigger fish to fry.
“You can’t count to three without counting to one and two,” Gillespie said. “I gotta get past Saturday, obviously through a tough opponent. They’re all tough, so yeah I got to win this one and we’ll go from there.”
Make sure to tune into UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw to see if Gillespie can reel in his thirteenth straight win. The main card starts on ESPN+ at 10pm/7pm EST. Here’s how you can watch the UFC on ESPN+.
Gavin Porter is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com, follow him on Twitter at @PorterUFCNews.