Gregor Gillespie is a man of few words and fewer interests outside of his family, his team, his friends, fighting and, of course, fishing.
He is far from your prototypical fighter who post workout videos online or shares team photos or spends countless hours calling out his fellow lightweights. Instead, the self proclaimed “best fisherman in MMA,” uses his online presence to give fans a glimpse of his life out on the lake alongside his tackle boxes and fishing lures.
But just know, even though he’s not pulling back the curtain on his life inside the gym, it doesn’t mean he’s not putting in the work.
“One of my cornermen says it all of the time: ‘Oh you’re such an enigma, you’re such a weird figure in the MMA world because you don’t play the games and you don’t live the fighter’s life. You show up to fight, you fight, you win and you kind of do your own thing.’ That’s true. I train 19 times a week. That’s more than anyone, I guarantee it,” Gillespie told Luke Thomas during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “I put my time in the gym, I do my hard workouts, I shut my mouth, I win my fights and 99-percent of everything after that for the months following the fight is fishing. That’s my life. I’m working out before and after fishing.
“So I don’t know why the other guys spend so much time online. Maybe that’s a calculated move and it’s helping them climb. I’m not judging anyone. But for me, I’m showing you what I’m doing in my life. So if you see me and I fight and then you see me on my boat for two months after, know that’s what I’m working before and after I’m on my boat. But that’s what I’m doing. I’m with my friends on my boat and I’m out salmon fishing. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not pretending to be doing anything but what I’m really doing.”
In terms of competition, Gillespie (12-0), a former NCAA Division I wrestling All-American and National Champion out of Edinboro University, has not made the walk to the Octagon since submitting Vinc Pichel in June. This performance not only kept his perfect record intact, but marked his fourth straight stoppage win under the UFC banner.
Now, at a point in his career where many fighters begin barking for higher ranked opponents, Gillespie has stayed true to his word and remained under-the-radar and out of the headlines.
“I’m not going to do the same thing everyone is, you know, running their mouth, ” said Gillespie. “I don’t talk sh*t. I’ve never been a sh*t talker. My dad taught me really young that you keep your mouth shut and you win. If you open your mouth and you lose, you look like an a**hole. So I don’t do that. I know it’s part of the entertainment business and fighting is an entertainment business, but I entertain people with my winning and my performances and I let that speak for itself.”
Up next for Gillespie stands six-year UFC veteran Yancy Medeiros, who he’ll meet on the UFC’s inaugural fight card on ESPN+ in Brooklyn. While Medeiros is unranked, Gillespie recognizes the difficult task ahead of him. However, when asked specifically about the matchup, Gillespie flat out refused to to discuss his opponent, in favor of focusing on himself and letting his performance on Saturday do the talking.
“I’m just not good at talking sh*t,” said Gillespie. “People would be able to tell it’s not organic. If I’m talking sh*t, it will look manufactured. There’s guys like Conor McGregor and a few other big names in this sport that have made a living on it. They can fight as well, obviously. But, I’m just going to let my fighting do the talking. I know that’s kind of cliché. But, I’m just not good at running my mouth and I’m not going to pretend to be. So, I march to my own beat and that’s the way it’s always going to be.”
These comments may be an understatement for Gillespie. In an era a where fights and rivalries are made on social media, Gillespie has all but abandoned his Twitter page. With his last tweet dating back to September 2017, the man known as “The Gift” has cemented himself as one of the more mysterious undefeated fighters on the UFC roster.
“I just like to be left alone and win my fights and train hard,” said Gillespie. “I just don’t need validation via Twitter. My validation is from my team and from getting my hand raise. I don’t need to be picking on people on Twitter. A little while back someone was talking sh*t on my Instagram page about a guy I previously fought, Vinc Pichel. I told him to get lost, deleted his comments and I said ‘don’t do that sh*t on my page.’ I’m a classier guy than that. I’m a grown up. I’m 32 years old, I’m not in f*cking high school picking on somebody and letting the rumor mill spin. It’s just not me.”
This approach is indeed a different path for fight fans who have become accustomed to the UFC booking matchups that can drum up bad blood and, inevitably, higher ratings.
But for Gillespie, he’s not changing, even if it means a longer path to UFC gold.
“I’ll wait my turn,” said Gillespie. “At some point you win enough fights and you get a title shot. That’s how it goes. I haven’t asked for that yet. I haven’t beat enough guys. So, I’m not sitting here complaining ‘Poor me. Oh my god, I haven’t gotten the fights I want.’ I’ve gotten all of the fights I wanted. I haven’t beaten anyone to deserve that spot yet. I’m not complaining, I’m where I should be.
“If I keep climbing the ladder, and this is a calculated climb, then I get to where I’m going. If we get to that point where I got say ‘Oh you have to call ca guy out,’ then I’ll call the guy out who has the belt. If I want the belt, then I’ll call that guy out. But until that point, there’s no point.”