Keith Trimble watched Gregor Gillespie boxing in the gym one recent afternoon. Gillespie moved well and threw crisp punches as he shadow boxed and hit the heavy bag.
Then, Trimble recalled a different sight in a different time.
“The worst,” Trimble said.
He remembered the first time he held pads for Gillespie, a former NCAA Division I wrestling champion.
“He almost broke my elbows,” the longtime trainer at Bellmore Kickboxing said.
That was a few years ago on the calendar and a few light years earlier in Gillespie’s development from wrestler to a more complete striker for mixed martial arts.
Gillespie, who lives in Massapequa, now moves better than ever with his hands. The transformation isn’t complete — it seldom is in mixed martial arts — but the rounding out of Gillespie’s skill set grows smoother by the day.
That was evident in his most recent fight last April at UFC 210 in Buffalo when he knocked out Andrew Holbrook.
Gillespie (9-0, 2-0 UFC) clipped Holbrook with a perfectly timed stepback left hook. He followed it up with several strikes to the grounded Holbrook to win the fight in 21 seconds.
It was the first knockout in the UFC for Gillespie, who had three wins by technical knockout while fighting his way to the lightweight title in Ring of Combat.
Add in three submission wins and that’s seven finishes for a growing MMA fighter with an impressive wrestling pedigree. He won two New York state titles while at Webster Schroeder High School and was a four-time All-American wrestler for Edinboro in Pennsylvania.
“If it’s stand-up, if it’s gritty takedowns, if it’s ground and pound, if it’s submissions, you’re going to see a lot of persistence,” Gillespie said. “I’m resilient and I’m a workhorse.”
Gillespie is awaiting his next fight booking. He indicated that he’d like to get on the UFC 25 card scheduled for Sept. 7 in Edmonton.
|GREGOR GILLESPIE’S UFC FIGHT HISTORY|
|Sept. 4, 2016||UFC Brasilia||Glaico Franco||Won by unanimous decision|
|April 8, 2017||UFC 210||Andrew Holbrook||Won by KO, Round 1, 0:24|