Female UFC fighter prepared to make history
Written by Joey LeMaster on April 13, 2023
Photo provided by Gillian Robertson
NORMAL, Ill. – Gillian Robertson is the definition of a UFC veteran.
Since her first fight on the UFC on The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, she’s had 23 fights in the UFC. In that time, she has accumulated accolades that aspiring female fighters strive for.
Robertson has the most submissions in UFC female history with six submissions. Not only is her submission history impressive, but she also has quite the resume. Her resume includes defeating big names such as Taila Santos, Maycee Baber and Molly McCann. The willingness to take on these tough challenges is something Robertson is very proud of.
“You got to really put in the work and take risks and big opportunity risks,” Robertson said. “I don’t think I’ve ever said no to a fight in my career. You have to take those risks to get to the places you want to go. You can’t be picking and choosing fights and hoping you get noticed one day.”
Robertson now has another tough challenge in front of her. On April 15, she takes on Piera Rodriguez. The Venezuelan prospect holds an undefeated record of 9-0, five of those victories coming from a knockout. Despite the intimidating resume, Robertson is confident in a win with her grappling background.
“I definitely always think that my ju-jitsu background poses a threat to every girl in this division,” Robertson said. “This stylistically does look like a striker vs grappler match-up. I feel like I’m confident in the grappler coming out on top.”
This fight will be different compared to any other fight Robertson has been in. While she has fought with talented strikers before, she has never fought in the strawweight division up to this point. Her whole career has taken place in the flyweight division, and now she will be moving down in weight to see where her career can take her.
“In my last couple of fight camps, I’m just not been lifting as heavy, not been lifting as much,” Robertson said. “I actually don’t do any strength or conditioning at this point. I’m just focused on technique and fighting. So I’m just not carrying as much muscle and not walking as heavily. I’m walking around 132 pounds. In my last four fights, I cut probably 2 pounds the day of. I was extremely close to weight and why not give it a go?”
Robertson was born and bred in Ontario, Canada. She has only fought there once in her lifetime. However, a second chance may be approaching. Despite wishing for an event in Toronto, UFC will be heading to Vancouver, Canada for UFC 289. The Canadian had one of her most memorable fights in Canada. She hopes to have a second crack to perform in front of her home fans.
“One of my most memorable fights to me is when I fought Sarah Frota in Edmonton,” Robertson said. “Edmonton is literally on the other side of the country from where I was born. I had so much love from the country and so much support. I had never heard cheers like that from the crowd and it was absolutely amazing. To be able to fight in Toronto would be absolutely insane.”
Being an MMA fighter is a grueling sport. Training is tough, weight cuts are tough, fights are intense, and fights are ruthless. This sport is not for the average Joe. You have to be dedicated every day to this craft which is not something everyone can do. Robertson is not everybody. She loves all of these challenges that come her way.
“I love this more than anything else,” Robertson said. “Even on the days when I leave the gym, it’s better than when I had to go to my job and be a hostess. I’m just happy there. So no matter how good a day there was, it was draining. I have the worst days at the gym and am physically drained but I love this more than anything. So I’m going to show up to the next training session.”