Gregor Gillespie experienced many emotions following his win at UFC Vegas 26 last night.
Gillespie returned to the win column with a come-from-behind second-round TKO victory over Carlos Diego Ferreira in their lightweight bout.
It was all the more impressive given that Gillespie appeared to be gassed in the first round only to catch a second win and dominate the Brazilian on his way to victory.
However, Gillespie claims he was only tired because of the pace they were both setting. The difference was he can operate even while tired.
“I was exhausted,” Gillespie said at the post-fight press conference (via MMA Junkie). “People are going to watch that and say, ‘Gillespie is out of shape.’ There is a huge difference between being tired and being out of shape. I was tired, not out of shape.
“That guy stuck with that pace and added to that pace in the first round. I don’t know if you want to call it – I baited him into that, or I forced him into that pace, but that’s how I do it. I go that hard. Sometimes I don’t have to keep going that hard. Sometimes the guy is not as good on the bottom. He can’t escape, he can’t force me off of him or reverse me, so that’s less tiring.
“Diego was able to do that a few times and he put me in danger at the end of the first round. It was exhausting and I was tired. But the difference is, I will still operate when I’m that tired and I’m OK being that tired. It was really unconformable, and I said to my coaches, but I had conceded to the fact that if it was going to have to be three rounds of that, then that’s cool. I accepted that going into the second round. If that’s what we’re going to do, that’s what we’re going to do. But he quit before we got there.”
In the process, Gillespie earned his first win since his devastating knockout loss to Kevin Lee back in November 2019. “The Gift” was emotional after the win and there were many reasons for that other than his inactivity since his setback against Lee.
“For lack of a better term, it is self doubt. And it’s not that I don’t believe in myself – those are two separate entities,” Gillespie said. “I always believe in myself. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t think I could be the best, if I couldn’t win that fight with Diego. Why would I have taken it if I didn’t believe that I could? I took it because I think I could win it.
“But until you beat someone like that, or you beat a guy like that – I had that six-fight win streak, and then I lost to Kevin Lee and it’s been a year and a half. Until you beat another guy, the only thing that you really remember is that last fight. I got knocked out and I haven’t fought since, and you’re like, ‘Where am I now? Where do I stand? Can I beat the top 15?’ You think you can, but you have doubt. That’s not the only reason why I got emotional.
“It’s been a long road since that Kevin Lee fight. I broke my jaw, COVID happened, I’ve been tortured by trolls online telling me I’m retired. I’ve got thick skin, but I’m just so sick of hearing it. Then the whole thing with the (Brad) Riddell fight getting canceled because of COVID, that was totally out of my control. Then add another six weeks onto a fight camp that was already 10-12 weeks.”
Hopefully, Gillespie embarks on another winning run now.