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(12-0) is a mixed martial artist who competes in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
’s lightweight division. His next
appearance will see him square off against Yancy
Fight Night 143
, which is the Las Vegas-based promotion’s first
event of 2019. The bout will take place at the Barclays Center in
Brooklyn, New York, on Jan. 19.
As fight day looms, here are five things that you might not know
about surging lightweight contender Gregor “The Gift”
He was a wrestling star.
Following a decorated high school wrestling career, Gillespie
attended Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. There, “The Gift”
continued excelling in the sport. His collegiate wrestling
accolades include being a four-time NCAA Division I All-American,
winning the 2007 national championship, and emerging victorious
from 152 matches (a school record).
He has tackled addiction.
Having wrestled relentlessly in college, Gillespie had grown weary
of competitive sport. After casting it aside he cast it aside, he
developed a serious drinking problem and a penchant for illegal
drugs. One day in 2010, he hit rock bottom and made the decision to
move forward with his life. A telephone conversation with his old
wrestling coach culminated in going to rehab and he’s been clean
He loves fishing.
It was his father who first introduced Gillespie to the pastime of
fishing. The pastime stuck, and the avid fisherman likes nothing
more than to while away the hours with a rod in hand. With training
up to 19 times per week, fishing provides a cathartic change of
pace from the rigors of being a professional athlete. Gillespie
said in an interview of his favorite hobby, “Fishing is definitely
a much-needed break.” An avid user of social media, he has invented
his own fishing-related Twitter hashtag, #BestFishermanInMMA.
He is covered in tattoos.
The New York native boasts a heavily-inked body. The pugilist
chooses designs that have meaning to him, and he is prone to
talking about these on his Twitter account. His most commented upon
tattoo are the words “1 To 100,” which he has inscribed on the
front of his neck. According to the MMA combatant, the cryptic
message symbolizes how for him one is too many and 100 is not
enough. Gillespie asserts this is reflective of his difficulty in
only having a moderate amount of a given thing. When pressed in an
interview, he gave examples ranging from beer to cupcakes.
He did not initially plan to pursue MMA.
It was the relentless weight cutting, injuries and training
sessions during his collegiate wrestling days that temporarily
extinguished Gillespie’s desire to compete. Despite having the
skills that he had developed as an elite wrestler; the worn-out
young man harboured no interest in pursuing professional MMA.
However, after completing rehab his competitive streak returned and
he resumed wrestling training. After winning a world team trial in
Iowa, “The Gift” considered trying out for the 2012 Olympics. That
all changed following a move to Long Island, New York, and an
introduction to the sport. Training alongside MMA stalwarts like
, he developed a passion for his new hobby and quickly
recognized that it presented a money-earning opportunity. In Jan.
2014, he made his professional debut, a first round TKO triumph at
Ring of Combat 47. Now 12 fights into his MMA career, the
31-year-old has still yet to taste defeat.