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Sport Gregor Gillespie knew Diego Ferreira couldn't keep up exhausting pace: 'That's how I do it'

19:55  09 may  2021
19:55  09 may  2021 Source:   mmajunkie.com

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LAS VEGAS – Gregor Gillespie said he knew his opponent, Diego Ferreira, wasn’t going to keep up with him.

a man talking on a cell phone: Gregor Gillespie © File photo Gregor Gillespie

The lightweight picked up a big win Saturday when he stopped Ferreira (17-4 MMA, 8-4 UFC) in the second round of their main card bout at UFC on ESPN 24 in Las Vegas. Gillespie (14-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) put away the Brazilian with ground-and-pound after a wild series of non-stop action that earned “Fight of the Night.” (Gillespie got to take Ferreira’s $50,000 share, as well, since Ferreira missed weight.)

It was one of the most high-paced fights in recent memory, as both fighters frantically battled for dominant positions on the ground.

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“I was exhausted,” Gillespie said at the UFC on ESPN 24 post-fight news conference. “People are going to watch that and say, ‘Gillespie is out of shape.’ There is a huge difference between being tired and being out of shape. I was tired, not out of shape.

“That guy stuck with that pace and added to that pace in the first round. I don’t know if you want to call it – I baited him into that, or I forced him into that pace, but that’s how I do it. I go that hard. Sometimes I don’t have to keep going that hard. Sometimes the guy is not as good on the bottom. He can’t escape, he can’t force me off of him or reverse me, so that’s less tiring.

“Diego was able to do that a few times and he put me in danger at the end of the first round. It was exhausting and I was tired. But the difference is, I will still operate when I’m that tired and I’m OK being that tired. It was really unconformable, and I said to my coaches, but I had conceded to the fact that if it was going to have to be three rounds of that, then that’s cool. I accepted that going into the second round. If that’s what we’re going to do, that’s what we’re going to do. But he quit before we got there.”

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It was an important win for Gillespie, who bounced back from his first professional loss. It was also in some way a comeback fight because Gillespie had been out of competition for more than a year. Gillespie was coming off a knockout loss to Kevin Lee in November 2019 at UFC 244.

Gillespie thinks he’s among the best fighters at 155 pounds, but admitted doubt did creep in given the conditions under which he entered UFC on ESPN 24.

“For lack of a better term, it is self doubt. And it’s not that I don’t believe in myself – those are two separate entities,” Gillespie said. “I always believe in myself. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t think I could be the best, if I couldn’t win that fight with Diego. Why would I have taken it if I didn’t believe that I could? I took it because I think I could win it.

“But until you beat someone like that, or you beat a guy like that – I had that six-fight win streak, and then I lost to Kevin Lee and it’s been a year and a half. Until you beat another guy, the only thing that you really remember is that last fight. I got knocked out and I haven’t fought since, and you’re like, ‘Where am I now? Where do I stand? Can I beat the top 15?’ You think you can, but you have doubt. That’s not the only reason why I got emotional.

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“It’s been a long road since that Kevin Lee fight. I broke my jaw, COVID happened, I’ve been tortured by trolls online telling me I’m retired. I’ve got thick skin, but I’m just so sick of hearing it. Then the whole thing with the (Brad) Riddell fight getting canceled because of COVID, that was totally out of my control. Then add another six weeks onto a fight camp that was already 10-12 weeks.”

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