We are now just under 2 weeks away from the absolutely stacked UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Allen card. This card has fire written all over it and is packed to the brim with the best the UFC has to offer.
And will also play host to the long awaited return of Gillian ‘The Savage’ Robertson, who will be making her return to the Strawweight division taking on the undefeated Piera Rodriguez.
I had the opportunity to speak with Gillian, as she prepares for the evening’s violent festivities in Kansas City.
Gillian ‘The Savage’ Robertson (11-7-0) is a Canadian professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Strawweight division, representing The Goat Shed. Gillian has competed for Island Fights, Fight Force International, Atlas Fights, Global Knockout, Next Level Fight Club, Submission Underground, Fury Pro Grappling, the Ultimate Fighter season 26 and UFC.
I’d like to kick things off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me so soon to fight night Gillian, and also to congratulate you on your upcoming inclusion to the UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Allen card.
“I appreciate it. I’m super excited to be able to perform as I feel it’s been so long since I’ve been in the cage and return to 115 lbs.”
My pleasure, Gillian.
I hope your camp has been going well in the build-up to your highly anticipated return to the Octagon?
“Yeah, my camp has been going very well, I’ve been doing it at The Goat Shed in Miami and also working with my head coach Din Thomas. Honestly, I feel like it’s one of the best camps I’ve ever had, and the most focused I’ve ever been, it’s gone extremely smooth.”
That’s great to hear.
Your 1st outing with the UFC since October, how does it feel to be stepping back out there once again?
“I feel like it’s just been too long for me, ideally I always wanna get back in there as soon as possible. I’m so excited to get back in there and back in the win column.”
Great confidence going forward. I caught your grappling match against Rose Namajunas at Fury Pro Grappling 6, not the cage setting but you have been definitely keeping busy while absent from the Octagon.
“Oh yeah, I like to take any opportunity I can to compete, to put myself out there and make myself comfortable in uncomfortable situations. To be able to share the mat with someone like Rose, it was an opportunity I just couldn’t turn down.”
That was an incredible collision, unfortunately for us UK fans we have to stay up until earthly hours to catch you guys out there. But I made sure to set my alarm for that one, that was a sublime performance.
“I appreciate that so much. I definitely knew it was going to go my way, but it was faster than I expected and I was just happy that I was able to go out there and perform.”
I can imagine, I always enjoy the Fury Pro Grappling events too.
Your submissive victory over Mariya Agapova at UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song in my opinion, will always be the night of the choke felt around the world, and a huge part to play in the anticipated return of ‘The Savage’.
No doubt you are asked about that night on a regular basis?
“Oh yeah, I feel like I’m just known for my chokes, everybody wants to know how I do it. I feel like I do chokes differently to everybody else, so it’s definitely something unique to me and that’s why I have 5 in the UFC currently hahaha.”
It’s a highly loved form of finish over here also, from the regional scene to Cage Warriors, It’s definitely one of my favourite ways for fights to end.
“Oh yeah. It’s one of those submissions, an armbar you can be a little bit tough and just out-tough it but a rear-naked you don’t have that option, it’s either you tap or you’re out.”
The nickname the choke felt round the world for your victory overMariya I think, suits it down to a tee.
“That was definitely one of the more brutal ones, the ref let it go a little too long there.”
Yeah, I saw it in your face, while you had it locked looking at the ref.
“I actually told the ref twice that she was out, and he replied to me no she’s not, and I was like no, she’s out. I knew for a while that it was done hahaha.”
That’s the worst thing, knowing your opponent is out and having to wait for the ref to confirm it.
You have lived up to your nickname since joining the UFC roster back in 2018, but I’ve always wondered who actually gave you the name?
“It was actually my head coach Din Thomas. After my 1st amateur fight he wrote an email to our whole Pro team just talking about my fight, he said she’s quiet as a mouse but when she walks into the cage she turns into a Savage. So after that email it just kinda stuck.”
What a nickname to be given.
“Oh yeah, I think it suits hahaha.”
The Savage in the cage, but a hugely respected person outside of it. Many know of your Befriending of Molly McCann after your collision in Liverpool, have you Befriended many of your previous opponents?
“Me and Molly have always supported each other throughout our careers since we faced off against one another. Probably my best friend is Hannah Goldy, we actually shared our 1st pro fight against each other, it’s definitely a bond building experience to be able to share the cage with someone.”
A highly respective attitude to have also, to keep it in the cage and help each other build outside of it.
“Oh yeah, It’s great to have us girls support each other.”
Looking forward, your return see’s you take on the undefeated Piera Rodriguez, who is on quite the role since joining the roster, what do you make of Piera as you prepare to collide in Missouri?
“I think she’s undefeated for a reason, she makes a lot of smart choices and definitely has a high fighting IQ. But I also feel like she hasn’t felt my kind of pressure, she’s never fought a grappler with my capabilities, she’s gonna be in a different world whenever I get my hands on her. Most of her opponents have been primarily strikers which kind of favours herz because she’s typically more of a boxer that wrestles sometimes. She’s gonna be in a different world with my hands on her.”
Many will be wondering the reasons behind the drop back down in weight class to 115 lbs, is this an experiment or do you think the Strawweight division will be your new home once again?
“It’s definitely an experiment, I wanna see how I feel as a Strawweight. If I don’t feel good I don’t have a problem going back up to Flyweight, but if I do feel good, ideally I would like to stay at Strawweight and try and make a title run there.”
It’s great to see fighters such as yourself mix it up a bit and test the waters in the many divisions open to you, personally I couldn’t deal with the cuts. That’s why I like tk be on this side of the mic, hahaha.
“Hahahaha. It definitely depends on how I feel during this fight, and how quick I can get back in there after. So we’re just gonna look at all those factors and determine which weight class will be the hometown for ‘The Savage’.
I’ll definitely be looking forward to your future announcements, it’s great to have you back on an upcoming card once again.
“Oh I appreciate it, I always go on there looking for a finish.”
You have been added to quite the card in Kansas City, other than your inclusion on the night are there any match-ups in particular that you’re looking forward to witnessing?
“I believe it’s the Co-Main-Event of the night, Edson Barboza vs Billy Quarantillo. That fight is gonna be an absolute fire fight from top to bottom, I’m super excited for that one and it’s the one I’m calling for fight of the night. Not to take anything away from the Main-Event, Arnold Allen vs Max Holloway is gonna be a great fight as well.”
Both absolutely worthy of the Co-Main and Main-Event’s. Us over in the UK will definitely be looking forward to the Main, I believe Arnold is close to possibly making a stretch for the title, if successful against such great opposition in Max Holloway.
“Oh yeah, and we need more contenders in that division. Arnold Allen is an up-and-comer, he’s a finisher. And if he can beat Max Holloway, who I believe is the people’s champ, then he most definitely deserves that title shot.”
It’s been an incredible honour speaking with you today Gillian, I wish you all the best for the remainder of your camp and I look forward to catching you out there.
“I appreciate it, I can’t wait to put on a show again on April 15th.”
Last but not least do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?
“I’m just super excited to have fans in attendance, this is the 2nd time since the beginning of Covid that I’ve been able to fight in a full arena. That is the best feeling in the world. I’m so excited to be in front of fans, to have that energy in the room and just excited to be in Kansas City. Shout-out to my team and my head coach Din Thomas as always, they support me more than anything else and they’ll watch me get my hand raised on April 15th.”