He’s a spectacular wrestler, a persistent fighter, and a committed coach; but above all, 2007 NCAA Division I National Wrestling Champion and undefeated, lightweight MMA upstart Gregor Gillespie is simply, “a cool dude to be around.”

“That’s why they call me the gift!” exclaims Gillespie. “I’m a pleasure to be around, I’m a pleasure to watch. Anyone that gets to experience me is getting a gift. I’m a cool dude to be around!”

While on his way to Judo practice, “The Gift,” standing 5’9” weighing 155 pounds, went into detail about his upcoming fight at The Tropicana in Atlantic City, N.J., a GFL.tv streamed event, where he will put his perfect, 4-0 professional record on the line against George Sheppard (15-10).

To Gillespie, this fight is no different than the ones he’s fought in the past. “I take every fight the same way: like it’s the toughest fight in my career,” said Gillespie.

Gillespie chooses not to study his opponents too closely, reasoning: “if you just worry about what you do and focus on what you do well, the other guy is gonna have a lot of trouble doing what he does well.”

When asked what it is that he does so well, Gillespie answered, “I think I have a level of persistence that other people don’t have. I’ll keep going after something until I get it.  My level of presence is light years ahead of where others are.”

With a 4-0 record, “The Gift” seems to have a good system working for him.

Like other fighters, Gillespie has repeatedly expressed his desire to join the UFC. In spite of the recent heat the UFC has taken for the Reebok sponsorship deal and potential lost revenue from other sponsors, Gillespie remains undaunted. “That sponsorship stuff? That is such a silly thing to be concerned with. I love to fight. I love to compete. If I want to be the best in the world, I gotta do it in the best organization in the world. That’s it.”

From where he currently stands in his training, Gillespie is optimistic about breaking into the UFC. “I hope I’m just a phone call away,” he said with a laugh. “I know I have work to do. There is no guarantee but as far as being ready, I could fight in the UFC tomorrow. I could fight today.”

Although “The Gift” feels confident in his training and skills, he made it clear: “I understand I have to climb the latter in this sport. The end game isn’t about money. I wrestled for free all my life anyway.”

Gillespie feels as if his roots in wrestling give him a definite edge over his competition. “I think there are two types of wrestlers: The wrestler who’s really good at folkstyle and the wrestler who’s really good at freestyle.”

Freestyle is the wrestling technique seen in the Summer Olympics, while folkstyle or collegiate wrestling, is seen in competitive high school and college programs. “I think the best guys in fighting are good at folk style wrestling because they are great mat wrestlers,” Gillespie continued. “I think my mat wresting has given me a distinct advantage in my fighting.”

He is passionate about his roots in wrestling. So passionate, that he finds time in between training for his own fights to coach and mentor future wrestling champions in Long Island.

“Wrestling is definitely getting bigger and I’m so excited about it,” said Gillespie when asked about the sport’s popularity. “All these Olympic and collegiate wresters have so many twitter followers. Plus there are so many fight fans that get into wrestling to see future MMA fighters.”

Fan’s new found interest into the world’s oldest sport is due in part to the recent Grapple at the Garden event, something “The Gift” would love to be a part of. “But funny enough I would rather verse someone who’s better than me on paper than someone I know I’ll beat,” said Gillespie.

At first, his statement seemed puzzling. It could have been attributed to a desire to become a better wrestler. Perhaps even champions can afford to learn something new. But none of that is the true motivation – Gillespie has already proven himself to be one of the all-time greats.

“I don’t want someone I’m supposed to smash cause then, you know, if you smash him then everyone watching is like, ‘So what? You were supposed to smash ‘em anyway!’ If you lose, then everyone watching is like, ‘What the hell? You were supposed to smash him!’ It’s a lose-lose.”

For “The Gift,” going in the underdog and coming out the victor is a spectacular story and a great crowd pleaser. He then reiterated, “I’m a gift. Anyone that gets to experience me is getting a gift!”

About The Author

Dante Giannetta
GFL Coverage / Staff Writer