Gregor Gillespie explains why he didn’t wrestle Kevin Lee at UFC 244, would love rematch

Kevin Lee vs. Gregor Gillespie didn’t exactly go as expected.

The lightweight clash, which opened up the pay-per-view portion of UFC 244 on Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York, ended up being a quick, exciting striking battle. Lee scored the knockout almost three minutes in to put an end to the short, but back-and-forth war. Many expected the bout to be a high-level grappling match, given that both Gillespie (13-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) and Lee are two of the very best wrestlers in the division.

“I think a lot of people thought that was going to be the fight, just grappling, right,” Gillespie told MMA Junkie. “So that was kind of the general consensus that there was going to be a grinding out, (expletive) hanging on each other, pulling each other, tangling and scrabbling type of fight, but it was the exact opposite. I took one shot, didn’t even come close, came right back up and went back to striking.”

With the result in mind, some fans questioned why Gillespie didn’t use his NCAA Division I All-American pedigree and wrestled Lee more. Gillespie, who was holding more than his own on the feet, causing a lot of damage with his boxing, says it’s easier said than done.

“I thought I was doing really well in the striking,” Gillespie said. “The sideline couch-coaches, the trolls online were like, ‘Why didn’t you wrestle, bro? You should’ve (expletive) wrestled sooner, that’s what got you there. Don’t forget what got you there.’

“But Kevin Lee is no slouch when it comes to grappling, he’s an excellent wrestler for MMA and he’s not exactly easy to takedown. They obviously came with a great game plan – stay low, don’t get too high even if there’s some striking exchanges that don’t go your way. He was in a super low stance and you can’t just dive in on a guy like that, and I thought I was doing really well in the striking.

“I thought I was winning the exchanges up to that point, but then again, that doesn’t mean anything in MMA, things can change in the blink of an eye as you see. But I thought I was striking really (expletive) well: I busted his eyes up, I busted his nose up. The plan was hit him enough so where he has to stand up a little bit to avoid getting hit and then you shoot. But he kept that (expletive) stance, man. I couldn’t get him out of that stance and I’m not diving in on a guy like that.

“You get all these assholes on the internet saying you should’ve shot, man, but I mean, I was winning the exchanges. And if you dive in, then you can get kneed in the mouth and then get knocked out. And then it’s easy to say, ‘Why did you shoot, you were winning the exchanges,’ so you can’t win. When you know the result it’s super easy to say you should’ve done this or that.”

Gillespie has a sober assessment on how immediate rematches go in the UFC, so he’s not expecting to get matched up with Lee again anytime soon. However, the Long Island native would love to get another crack at Lee sometime in the future.

“As far as the rematch, I would obviously love to fight Kevin Lee, but unfortunately in this sport – unless you’re a titleholder and it’s a title fight that could’ve been a rematch – that’s not how fighting works,” Gillespie said. “I’m not going to get a rematch with Kevin Lee even if I begged for one right now. However, if we meet down the road, I would absolutely love that. That would be if we meet again along the road to the belt, I’d love that.

“Again, I’m not asking for one right now because I know it’s not in the realm of possibilities, but I hope one day we both get to a point, maybe we fight for the belt one day, maybe we have a title eliminator one day, I would really like that.”

Gillespie is back to training, but not sparring. The 32-year-old plans to return to competition sometime in the spring before the 2020 NCAA wrestling championship. Gillespie has no opponent in mind, but wants to get hands on someone in top 10.

When it comes to trash talk and callouts, Gregor Gillespie is ‘done doing that sh*t’

Gregor Gillespie is going to take things down a notch.

The New York native will resort back to his original ways after suffering his first professional loss to Kevin Lee back in November at UFC 244. Defeat wasn’t the only new experience for Gillespie (13-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) in his developing MMA career, as he also engaged in the trash talk and callout culture of the sport during the buildup.

Gillespie, who had generally kept a good distance from talking trash, was far more vocal ahead of the Lee fight, and even prior to that had also made the first callout of his career.

The NCAA Division I All-American made clear the extra talk didn’t have anything to do with his performance or the outcome of his fight against Lee, saying “The Motown Phenom” simply landed the “perfect kick.”

But despite not taking a toll, Gillespie wants to go back to his old ways and let his performance do the talking.

“Yeah, I’m going to stay away from that,” Gillespie told MMA Junkie. “I’m not going to say that was at all part of the reason why I lost. I’m not this dummy that thinks because I wore a different pair of socks that’s why I lost. I’m not superstitious as far as that, but I like to keep it the same, and I got a little, I mean, it wasn’t an overwhelming amount of getting caught up in the sh*t talk after, but the thing is that at that point, I wasn’t getting any offers, wasn’t getting any fights. Several people had turned down fights when I was asking them.

“The UFC has done an amazing job with matching me up with good guys, but I think I got to a point where I needed to create a little bit of a stir because a lot of people were looking at that like, ‘Gillespie isn’t fighting because he’s scared. Gillespie isn’t fighting because he doesn’t want to fight.’ A lot of people were sending me a lot of nasty sh*t on Instagram like, ‘Maybe if you fought more than once a year you’d be in the top 10, blah blah blah.’ So I put those out more like, ‘Hey, look, I’m trying guys. I’m just not getting the fights I’m asking for.’

“And that’s nothing on the UFC, the UFC has been f*cking amazing with me. Anybody that complains about the UFC, they’re having a completely different experience than I am because the UFC has been phenomenal to me in getting me matched up. We were just having a tough time getting guys in the top 10 that wanted to fight – also a lot of guys were booked or injured or coming off loses or recent fights. So I felt like I had to put something out there to let people know that I was trying to fight, so I’m probably going to stay away from that like I have in the past.

“I think I got a little bit caught up doing too many interviews and talking about what was going to happen. Then I got into that little thing in the weigh-in of who’s going to look away from who, who’s going to turn first, and I’m done doing that sh*t. I’m going to go back and do exactly what I was doing before: Head down, not do the whole get-crazy-during-the-staredown thing, no interviews that are going to – if you start talking about my opponent or what’s going to happen next, I’m done with the interview. I’m going to go back to exactly what I was doing before.”

There are many reasons why Gillespie will look to dial down on the talking aspect of MMA. For starters, he admits he’s not quite Conor McGregor, and believes he frankly doesn’t need to be loud to achieve his ultimate goal.

“I’m not a sh*t talker, and I’ve never been a sh*t talker,” Gillespie explained. “It actually makes me genuinely uncomfortable. You can tell when I did that Anthony Pettis callout I was visually uncomfortable, and it wasn’t organic. It looked scripted, and it’s because it was scripted. I mean, even Chael Sonnen ripped me apart for that and rightfully so. It was just a horrible acting job on my end, and it’s because that’s exactly what it was. It was an uncomfortable situation of acting, and I didn’t do it well. I wasn’t comfortable, it wasn’t organic, so I don’t like doing that.

“I know it’s part of the sport, and I’m not hating on anyone that’s is good at it. I mean, Conor McGregor has literally mad hundreds of millions of dollars out of it, you know, paired with the fact that he can also fight pretty damn good. So you know, like I’m not good at it, and I understand it.

“I can generate enough of an interest with my fighting and my personal life. I put a lot of it on Instagram, and there are a lot of fishing fans out there and a lot of country boys like me, so I appeal to a different audience – maybe not the guys who love watching that WWE style sh*t. That’s not me. I definitely have my own things. I’ve picked up a lot of followers over the past year, so I think I have a different fan base, and maybe I’m bringing in a different fan base to the sport of MMA. I’ve had people say, ‘I haven’t watched fighting until I saw you, I’m a fisherman, and I just saw your fishing videos.’

“I’m all about promoting the sport, a certain fight, but not going to do it by corny one-liners about your mom.”

Gregor Gillespie was flattened by a Kevin Lee head kick at UFC 244. (Sarah Stier, USA TODAY Sports)

Big part of the reason there’s been a rise in trash talk is because it may result in desired matchmaking and increased fan interest. It can be a beneficial tool to many fighters. Gillespie believes there’s a way around getting ahead through promotion, and that’s just simply what he does best – winning.

“My game plan has always been if you win the fights, you’re going to get bigger fights,” Gillespie said. “So I’ll string together a few more good ones, and I’ll be right where I want to be. Look at George St-Pierre. He didn’t even say a f*cking word, nd he’s one of the most popular fighters in history.

“I also want to be, and as corny as this sounds, but man, I guess this is where the wresting comes in: We were always taught to be good role models and be examples for the kids who are going to watch you compete. So I hope they see this guy that cleaned up his life, he’s a former drug user and alcoholic, cleaned his life up, gets back on track, gets into a sport, makes it into the UFC, gets in the top 10, and maybe gets a title shot one day and wins the belt. I want to be a good role model.

“There’s also a life after fighting, too. I might have to apply for a job after I’m done fighting, and let’s say six years from now I’m trying to be a teacher, and they’re going to look back at my Instagram, and he was telling someone to suck his d*ck, and all the sudden you’re getting, ‘Oh, we can’t hire this guy. There’s a video of him on his own page telling someone to suck his d*ck.’ You can’t do that. So where do you draw the line? I’m trying to look forward. You can’t fight forever. At some point you might have to put in a job application with a company that may not like what you’re saying.

“So I don’t know. I’m all about promoting a fight and gaining, retaining as much interest in me, my fight, and the promotion as much as I possibly can. But at what expense?”



The UFC has confirmed this morning that they will be back in the London March 21 for their 11th show.

Last year the event was headlined by Darren Till, where he lost to the now owner of the BMF Belt Jorge Masvidal.

Make no mistake Till is again the front runner to headline this year also again. Having made his middleweight debut back at UFC244 against Kelvin Gastelum beating who many thought would be too much for the Scouse man, means he now has the pick of the anyone in the middleweight division.


The fight we could likely see at the top would be Till Vs. Whittaker.  Robert Whittaker the former middleweight champ who recently lost his title to Israel Adesanya .  With no title rematch on the cards, this fight makes sense. One ex-champ vs a real contender at middleweight, I feel the UFC would be silly not to make this fight as a headline event.

No fights have as yet been schedule so its all speculation at this moment.  MMA in the UK is on quiet the high at the moment which will make this UFC London card spectacular

Dana White on Johnny Walker UFC 244 loss: You can’t ‘goof around like that’

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Dana White had some advice for the upcoming UFC star Johnny Walker, who was stopped dead in his tracks by an angry man on a mission in Corey Anderson at UFC 244.

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Jorge Masvidal ‘confused’ by Nick Diaz’s recent comments

Jorge Masvidal is perplexed by Nick Diaz’s recent comments and is unsure if he really wants to fight.

“Gamebred” is coming off a victory against Diaz’s younger brother, Nate Diaz at UFC 244 on November 2. The fight was ended after round three due to a doctor’s stoppage, leaving Masvidal to claim victory and the unprecedented “BMF” title.

While Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal respect each other’s ability, that didn’t stop verbal jabs being thrown during press conferences (before and after their fight). During an interview with Ariel Helwani, Gamebred said he wanted to “baptize” the younger Diaz brother. Nate’s older brother Nick Diaz did not appreciate the Miami native’s comment and is seemingly willing to resume his fighting career to give Masvidal a taste of his own medicine.

“All I see is f*cking dollar signs right now. It’s not on me. You wanna talk about baptizing my younger brother, that’s on you. I never had anything disrespectful to say, but you don’t talk about baptizing my younger brother,” said Diaz.

“So you’re already in a f*cked up position if you fight with me. You don’t f*cking talk about baptizing someone’s younger brother. That’s my baby brother, you don’t talk like that to nobody. So who rides on who’s side?

“You wanna say that? You wanna do that? You wanna walk? That’s on you. I can relate to you, that’s why I ain’t mad at you. But if you wanna walk, that’s on you.”

During an episode of The Dan LeBatard Show, Masvidal said he was unsure about the seriousness of Diaz’s comments.

“Is he asking to fight? I was confused or are we going for a walk some place? He’s asking for a fight? He’s asking for a fight or to go for a walk? Does he know who he’s asking for a fight?” Masvidal said (via “Cause I love to fight, especially when I get a little something on top of that.”

Whoever Masvidal ends up facing, he is already anticipating a hefty payout:

“We don’t know who’s next but everybody’s looking like cash symbols, cash money to us right now. The next person is going to be the one that puts the most zeros in the bank account, who that [is].

“A lot of people are saying my name now. They didn’t want to fight me before, like a year or two [ago], they didn’t want to fight me. Everybody wants to call me out now. So it’s funny to me because these same guys didn’t want to fight me two or three years ago.”

Who would you like to see Masvidal face? Let us know in the comments below.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/12/2019.  

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