Gregor Gillespie discusses how he overcame alcohol and drug addiction to pursue his MMA career. He also reveals the hardest worker he knows in the MMA game.
Yesterday it was announced that the undefeated lightweight prospect, Gillespie, is scheduled to fight Kevin Lee at UFC 244 on Saturday 2nd November in New York City.
As a New York native, Gregor Gillespie is excited to fight on his home turf. During an exclusive interview with BJPenn.com, ‘The Gift’ said,
“I am very pumped that all my people can come support.
“The most satisfaction I ever get is seeing my coaches and my close family and friends happy when I win…I do it for the happiness it brings them. I get my happiness from that. Like when my coaches or my friends talk about me… I do it for that…that brings me so much happiness.”
Gregor Gillespie’s dad got him into wrestling and his journey started from there. Formerly a collegiate wrestler and NCAA Division champion, Gillespie left the sport partly due to Jordan Burroughs domination. So, he decided to apply his skills towards MMA instead.
“I was drawn to MMA because it was an extension of wrestling which I could no longer be competitive in! Jordan Burroughs got rid of me from that sport,” he said.
“I knew no one (in) the U.S.A would beat Burroughs for the next 8 years, that’s what I predicted (at the time). (But) He’s past that now haha”
‘The Gift’s’ wrestling background made the ideal foundation for his MMA career. He made his professional debut in 2014 and 13 fights later, he is yet to lose.
Throughout his career, Gillespie has been able to master transitions; from a domino of wrestling moves to an arsenal of striking attacks. Combined with his explosivity, fast reactions and endurance, ‘The Gift’ has earned the respect of MMA veterans and is ranked no 11 in the lightweight division.
His fighting evolution is a product of his relentless training regiment. Gregor Gillespie trains 19 times a week. In the run-up to UFC 244, the 32-year old is sticking to intense yet creative workouts. He is keeping things consistent with his strength and conditioning coach, Vinny Uzi, who has been instrumental in his success.
“I’ve finished every fight since starting with Vinny…we’re doing the same thing we’ve always done!”
Before becoming a rising UFC talent, Gregor suffered from alcohol and drug addiction. During his birthday celebrations in 2010, Gregor used drink and do drugs to prove to himself and friends that he could enjoy them without it being a problem. Unfortunately, it was a reality check that didn’t go to plan: 6 months later, he checked himself into a chemical dependency program. Through hard work, Gillespie has been sober for 9 years and redirects his addictive behaviour towards fighting.
“Absolutely, MMA gave me an outlet, (it) gave me a target to aim my behaviour at.”
As ever, Gregor Gillespie is composed and prepared for his upcoming bouts. However, he refuses to talk badly of any opponent and does not engage in trash-talking. Instead, he used the interview as an opportunity to praise other talents. Gregor Gillespie revealed he has always been a fan of Frankie Edgar and revealed another fighter he is rooting for at UFC 244.
Gillespie’s cornerman, Kyle Cerminara’s wife is Katlyn Chookagian who is competing in UFC 244 women’s flyweight bout against Jennifer Maia. Gregor praises ‘Blonde Fighter’ as the hardest worker he knows.
“One of my best friends here is my cornerman, and his wife is also one of my best friends so I’m obviously very excited for her to fight,” he said.
“She does her camp, I do mine. Different schedules but very similar workload. I don’t know anyone outside of myself who do as much work as her.”
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