#UFC 217 #Conor McGregor #Michael Bisping #GSP #UFC Fight Night 55

Back in April, UFC lightweight Gregor Gillespie scored a quick knockout over Andrew Holbrook and then jumped on the mic with an unusual claim.

He was, he explained, the “best fisherman in MMA.” If you wanted proof, just follow him on Instagram.

Obviously, that was an invitation I couldn’t refuse. I started following Gillespie (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) that night, which is why I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see him win a bonus-worthy fight against Jason Gonzalez at UFC Fight Night 116 on Saturday night, and then decline to call out a new opponent on the grounds that he had some fishing to do before he even thought about fighting again.

Just to be clear, this is an undefeated fighter who is quickly establishing himself as a lightweight contender to keep an eye on, and all he wants to do is get back to fishing.

Seriously, you guys. This man loves fishing. He loves it so much, when he has to stop to focus on his training camp, he uses it as motivation. Of course he wants to beat up whoever’s standing across from him on fight night. That’s the guy who made him miss out on a ton of good fishing.

As a person who knows next to nothing about fishing, following Gillespie’s exploits on Instagram has been very educational.

A few examples of the things I’ve learned:

You don’t always have to know what kind of fish you’re catching in order to enjoy yourself. Gillespie seems to know a lot about fish, even the weird ones (more on this later), but occasionally he hooks one that stumps him. So what does he do? Well, lucky for him he’s got a lot of fishing buddies on Instagram, so he just crowdsources the question.

Some fish actually have venomous fins. How did I not know this? Unclear, but here we see Gillespie showing off one such fish, which he says is – I kid you not – stinging him with its venom as he is talking to us. But never fear, because Gillespie has been stung so many times that he’s built up a “tolerance” to the venom, not unlike the Dread Pirate Roberts did with iocane powder in “The Princess Bride.”

When you’re fishing for pike, first soak your lures in “barrel-aged hard cider.” Don’t ask, just do what the man says.

There are some beautiful waterways in New York state. But clearly, Keuka Lake is the “gem of the Finger Lakes.”

One of Gillespie’s favorite types of fish to go after is the mighty “musky.” That’s short for muskellunge, a large member of the pike family sometimes known to be a particularly aggressive fish. Northern muskies are fairly common in the Long Island lakes that Gillespie frequents, but the tiger musky is the truly elusive prize.

#2 n that's all she wrote for today. Tired from driving over night and hungry from not eating all day. Tomrw will be better

A post shared by Gregor gillespie (@gregorthegift) on

When you’re going after musky? Brother, that’s when you’ve got to get out the “big boy toys.”

Even when you aren’t catching any musky, it’s important to have fun out there. And by fun, I mean convincing your fishing buddy to strip down to his boxer shorts and jump in the freezing water.

If you hear a fisherman refer to a “lunker”? That means a really big fish (e.g. “That’s a real lunker!”). They can’t all be lunkers.

Seriously? #bestfishermaninmma

A post shared by Gregor gillespie (@gregorthegift) on

Those dudes you see standing on the beach and casting into the ocean? Apparently they catch some pretty sizable fish that way from time to time. I had no idea, but here we see Gillespie landing his first bluefish amid the waves, and yeah, he’s pretty stoked.

Gillespie is not even kidding with this “best fisherman in MMA” thing. He refers to his videos as episodes of “Fishing with ‘The Gift,’” and you will always know you’re watching such an episode because it includes at least two or three mentions of him being the best fisherman in MMA.

Fishermen can be very secretive. This is ironic, since much of Gillespie’s Instagram is devoted to telling us how and where he caught these fish. But sometimes, with a particularly good spot, he’ll go as far as changing his Instagram location (“Paris, France,” reads one example) just to keep the good fishing to himself.

This isn’t fishing related at all, but when you do a fancy photo shoot of a bunch of Long Island fighters, of course Al Iaquinta is going to be the guy to show up with no shirt on under his sport coat. LOL, dog.

The long island #ufc crew ! @gpvillante @chriswademma @chrisweidmanufc @menacebermudez @laflaremma

A post shared by Gregor gillespie (@gregorthegift) on

Sometimes it just gets weird out there.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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