KEARNEY, Nebraska — Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) announced this morning that it has signed NCAA Division I national champion wrestler turned MMA super prospect Gregor Gillespie to a 5-fight deal. This is a big signing for the RFA, which is getting set to host its third event in 9 days.
This is the news that many people in MMA and wrestling have been waiting to hear from the talented Edinboro alum, since he announced his plans to compete in MMA late last year. Gillespie earned NCAA Division I All-America honors all four years he was in college (2006-2009) and captured the 2007 NCAA Division I national championship at 149-pounds with an upset win over Michigan’s Josh Churella.
After graduation, Gillespie concentrated on an international wrestling career and served as a coach and administrator for the Edinboro Scotsman Wrestling Club. He did so before moving back to his home state of New York, where he joined the coaching staff for the wrestling team at Hofstra University last summer.
The excitement and hype surrounding fighters that have not made their MMA debut is rare, but in Gillespie’s case, it is absolutely warranted and expected. He has the right pedigree to make a big name for himself in MMA, as he comes from the same exact wrestler-turned-fighter lineage at Edinboro University as current UFC star Josh Koscheck.
Gillespie and Koscheck were both four-time NCAA Division I All-Americans and both captured NCAA Division I national championships during their college wrestling career at Edinboro, which is a small public university located in northwestern Pennsylvania known for its wrestling prowess.
The connection between Gillespie and Koscheck actually goes back further than just the similar wrestling accomplishments that they achieved at the same college. When Gillespie was in high school, Koscheck was his freesyle wrestling coach. After enrolling at Koscheck’s alma mater, Gillespie remembers watching as Koscheck competed on the first season of the UFC’s hit reality television show "The Ultimate Fighter."
Koscheck went on to become a star in the UFC due to his colorful personality and exciting fighting style, which evolved from his dominant wrestling base. Koscheck would eventually become one of the top welterweights in the sport today, which saw him eventually become a coach on the twelfth season of "The Ultimate Fighter" after he had earned a UFC welterweight title shot.
Many speculated that Gillespie would continue to follow in his favorite fighters’ footsteps by signing with the nearby Atlantic City, New Jersey based MMA promotion Ring of Combat. This is the same promotion Koscheck fought in before heading to the UFC.
However, Gillespie decided he could not pass up the opportunity to develop his MMA skills by competing in the RFA ranks alongside the likes of established UFC veterans Joe Stevenson, Gilbert Yvel, and Maurice Smith, as well as fellow decorated NCAA wrestlers turned promising MMA prospects Bubba Jenkins, Lance Palmer, and T.J. Hepburn.
Gillespie plans to make his MMA debut in the RFA later this summer or early next fall in the lightweight (155-pound) division. In order to prepare for his highly-anticipated MMA debut, he has surrounded himself with the right coaches and training partners at Long Island MMA alongside UFC featherweight and TUF 14 finalist Dennis Bermudez. He has also been training with former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
Gillespie will prepare for his MMA debut as part of Edgar’s training camp for his title fight and rematch with Benson Henderson in the main event of UFC 150, which is scheduled for Saturday, August 11th. Gillespie will undoubtedly benefit from the intensity of this championship-level training camp just ahead of his own MMA debut in the RFA.
Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) was founded in 2011 and includes a number of prominent businessmen, fight promoters, matchmakers, and others with successful careers in hosting Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) shows across the United States. To learn more, check out their website at www.RFAfighting.com.