UFC flyweight Gillian Robertson is looking to start the new year off with a win.
This is the sort of fighter Robertson is: after coming up short against short-notice opponent Taila Santos at UFC Vegas 17 in December, Robertson went ahead and competed against Pearl Gonzalez at Submission Underground 20 all of ten days later, getting her hand raised thanks to a rear-naked choke.
“The doctor didn’t advise that one with the stitches in my nose,” Robertson (9-5) admitted, speaking to Cageside Press ahead of her return at UFC 258. “I took them out the day before, still had a little blood dripping down my nose that day. But it felt good to have a win by the end of the year.”
The doctor had told her the stitches could come out after ten days. Live training? It was supposed to have been about 21 days before that was permitted. But SUG 20 was just ten days away, and Robertson clearly wasn’t going to miss it. “It wasn’t necessarily the smartest idea, but it was also just a little cut. It’s part of the game I guess.”
There’s a reason Robertson’s nickname is “The Savage.” Of course, it all worked out in the end. And now, the Canadian has a chance to bounce back from her loss to Santos with a relatively short turnaround. UFC 258 is just two weeks away, on February 13. “To get back in the cage so quick, I’m absolutely thrilled with it,” admitted Robertson. After her loss to Maycee Barber in October 2019, the flyweight was forced to sit through the longest layoff of her career. Needless to say, Robertson was not a fan.
When it comes to the Santos fight, there are lessons to be learned, of course. Originally set to face Andrea “KGB” Lee, an injury to her opponent saw her paired up with Brazil’s Santos. At the time, Robertson didn’t see that as too much of a hurdle.
“Coming off a loss, I guess it was a bigger obstacle than I thought. Santos had a lot of experience, but it wasn’t necessarily against a lot of high-level girls,” Robertson observed. Most of the Brazilian’s fights had come against opponents who were 0-0, 1-0 and so on. “I definitely felt a little bit more confident going into it, but she came up with a smart game plan and was able to leave with her hand raised.”
If Robertson underestimated her opponent, it won’t be a mistake she makes twice. “I’m just trying to be the best mixed martial artist in the world. So going in there, I’m testing myself every single time, trying to put myself up against the best girls in the world until I can call myself that,” Robertson stated. “It was just a test that I wasn’t ready for at this time. By the time the next test comes I’m going to make sure I make the adjustments so that we’re ready and I’m getting my hand raised.”
The next test comes against Miranda Maverick, a relative newcomer to the UFC who will be entering her second fight. Robertson, in comparison, has been the promotion’s most active flyweight with nine fights under the UFC banner. UFC 258 will mark fight number ten. But don’t let Maverick’s short UFC run fool you: she built herself up as one of the young stars of Invicta FC before making the jump to the big stage last year.
She’s also a fighter Robertson is familiar with from the grappling circuit. “She’s like me, she’s a gamer, she’s always trying to stay active. We’ve seen each other a few times on the grappling scene,” the 25-year old said of her opponent.
“We’ve never got to compete against each other, but we’ve seen each other compete a couple of times.” In fact, when Robertson vs. Maverick was booked, the pair even exchanged texts, trading pleasantries and hoping for Fight of the Night.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for her. She’s always down to fight, always down to get in there and test herself,” Robertson continued. “She’s kind of like my style, she’s a top-heavy grappler. She’s just me, but a southpaw.”
Of course, despite the similarities, Robertson believes she has the edge. “It’s still my game, it’s still my world. I’m just going to welcome her into it.”
The other big story line heading into UFC 258 when it comes to Gillian Robertson has been her contract. The fight against Maverick is the last on her UFC deal. Currently in negotiations with the promotion, however, Robertson expects to have a deal in place prior to fight night. “Before this fight, I’ll have a new contract,” she stated.
This isn’t a case where a fighter is looking to test free agency. Robertson intends to stick with the promotion where she’s found so much success so far. “I want to be the best in the world,” she told us. “Obviously money matters, but this isn’t about money for me. It’s about proving I’m the best in the sport. So I’m going to stay where the highest-level competition is.”
Gillian Robertson faces Miranda Maverick at UFC 258 on Saturday, February 13 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.