UFC Vegas 22’s Gregor Gillespie on Loss to Kevin Lee: “We Didn’t Need to Reinvent the Wheel”

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Gregor Gillespie enters UFC Vegas 22 off the first loss of his professional MMA career.

As losses go, it was a rough one. Lee was flatted by a Kevin Lee head kick back at UFC 244 in November 2019. He has not fought since, thanks in part due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gillespie resides in Long Island, not far from the heavily hit New York City, and had to endure strict lockdown measures, although he spent part of the pandemic in upstate New York.

“I was kind of sitting up there, waiting for things to open up in Long Island,” Gillespie said during the UFC Vegas 22 virtual media day this week. “Because if I’m not going to be able to work, not going to be able to train, I wasn’t really going to stay in Long island. So I went upstate for an extended period of time, doing solo workouts in my brother’s basement. It got old quick.”

While the Lee loss wasn’t Gillespie’s first loss as an athlete — he had a lengthy career as an amateur wrestler — the difference, he said, is the time frame to return to competition. In wrestling, after a loss, you compete again within days, or even hours. MMA? Months, or in this case, over a year.

That’s a lot of time to dwell on a defeat. Gillespie didn’t see the need for drastic change, however. “There was a few things we needed to tighten up with kickboxing. And we’ve done a lot. We stayed on the same training regimen, and we did a lot of striking work, which we’ve always done. We didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. It was unfortunate, what happened last fight.”

“I didn’t get caught, I didn’t get unlucky. It was just a perfectly executed combo by Kevin Lee, and that was the result,” he added. “Again, we didn’t reinvent the wheel, we just kept training hard the way we were always training.”

Gillespie has, of course, had to get over being posterized by Lee. Which included having his knockout loss played at a bar just as he was being introduced to the patrons during last March’s UFC Brasilia card, which was topped by Kevin Lee vs. Charles Oliveira.

“Unfortunately I’m going to be a highlight reel for Kevin Lee forever. If you fight long enough, things like that happen,” Gillespie admitted. “I don’t think I took too long to get over that. It’s something that happened, it’s part of my fighting experience, and we’re going to do everything we can to not let that happen again.”

Which brings us to Gregor Gillespie’s co-main event fight with Brad Riddell at UFC Vegas 22. The key to getting his hand raised, and avoiding a repeat of the Lee fight, is the “same game plan as always,” he told Cageside Press. “Watch my first six fights, that’s what I’m looking to do.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 22 virtual media day scrum with Gregor Gillespie above.

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