Why Gregor Gillespie doesn’t watch any lightweight fights

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Some fighters keep an eye on every potential opponent, watching their fights with a keen eye. Others save the fights for fight camp and dissect them with their coaches during game-planning sessions.

Gregor Gillespie has a very different take. He doesn’t watch his division at all.

“I don’t try to avoid it. I do avoid it,” Gillespie explained to the Top Turtle MMA Podcast. “I go over my buddy Manny’s house and I’m watching the fights, if a lightweight fight comes on I go into the other room and I hang out with his wife and we talk. I don’t watch it.”

The reasoning behind this is a complex one, but its heart is in the idea that it is hard for Gillespie, or anyone, to appreciate what they are watching and also be preparing. That hard-line is where it begins for him.

“I’m not a fan, I’m a participant,” he said. “Outside of my weight class, I’ll watch it... Once it’s in your weight class, you can’t be a fan.”

That mentality extends into fight camp. Even when preparing for a fighter or being offered a fight in the first place, Gillespie abstains from even taking a quick glance at one of their fights. Instead, he relies on his coaches to do all of the viewing.

“My coaches are Keith Trimble, Kyle Cerminara, and Joe Scarola, and they always watch the potential matchup,” Gillespie explains. “[The UFC] gives us a guy and says ‘Hey, do you want to fight this guy?’, they watch. I don’t watch. I never ever watch my opponent before I fight.”

While some of this is the fan/participant divide, it is also essential for Gillespie’s headspace. Gillespie is careful not to think about what the other fighter does well because he feels that it has no place in MMA or wrestling.

“I would never be like ‘Oh, my God, this guy has a great head kick, this guy has a great heel hook’ or whatever it is,” he said. “In fighting or in wrestling, you need to impose your will. It’s not a game of wait and see how it feels. You just can’t have that attitude.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean he doesn’t work on specific things. In fact, sometimes his coaches tip off what that fighter might do. However, he is sure to keep his mind focused on what he’s going to do, not what the opponent is.

“If Keith is having me block uppercuts, then I know this guy is probably got one, but I don’t watch them do it,” he said. “Because then you’re in a frame of mind where you’re thinking ‘oh my God, I watch the uppercut, I got to watch the uppercut’ and unconsciously or subconsciously you change how you’re gonna fight because you’re worried about what they’re going to do.”

While Gillespie doesn’t have a fight booked yet, he is always training twice a day. And don’t ask him who he wants to fight next because odds are, he’s never seen any of them fight before.

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Author Daniel Vreeland is a co-founder of the Top Turtle Podcast, and a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu at New England Submission Fighting in Amherst, Massachusetts.