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Returning to action on UFC 256 is women’s flyweight strangling GOAT, Gillian Robertson. She makes her return to the octagon after her win over Poliana Botelho, getting her second straight win in the division. Now, Robertson looks to make it three straight as she takes on the dangerous Andrea “KGB” Lee.
Don’t forget to check out our podcast with Gillian available on Spotify and everywhere else podcasts are sold!
Before the Botelho fight, Robertson was awarded her black belt by her coach, Din Thomas. After a nine year long journey, Gillian Robertson finally reached the end of one path and stepped into a new path. Robertson describes that moment being awarded her black belt and how she felt in that moment.
“For the last couple years, I’ve been competing with black belts and competed at that level. I had a lot of people say they thought I already was. Just to have my coach, Din Thomas, recognize me at that skill level and believe in me to deserve that means the world to me. In martial arts, we don’t get PHD’s. This is our degree. It’s definitely a big moment in our life. When he first gave it to me, I was able to contain myself in the hotel room. As soon as I walked out, I was sobbing down the hallways.”
Despite that, despite the seeming finality of getting one’s black belt, Gillian Robertson knows this is just the beginning of her Jiu Jitsu journey. Robertson, however, knows that this is only the start of something much bigger. “I feel like it’s just the beginning again. I was rolling with some people last week and I was feeling like a fucking white belt again. There’s levels to this, you know?”
Gillian Robertson and Din Thomas
Din Thomas is one of the MMA world’s favorite coaches. He’s likeable and very good at what he does. Recently, we learned with Shorty Torres that Din Thomas and Shorty had left American Top Team along with Robertson. The three have been traveling and training, working hard to become the best martial artists there is.
“It’s been absolutely amazing. I believe it was March when me, Shorty, and Din left ATT. We have just been working together mostly. We travel getting other training partners. But it’s just mostly the three of us. I honestly have seen myself grow so much with just his attention with being able to work with him twice a day every single day. I did work with him when we were at ATT, but he was just spread so thin with so many fighters so I never got the time I needed to develop as a fighter. Now, I really see myself improving and it shows in my fights as well.”
Din Thomas is special and Robertson loves his approach to coaching. She feels like Thomas has an approach that makes you better not just now, but in the future. Gillian Robertson believes that it’s that style of coaching that’s responsible for the improvement in her fighting in her past couple fights.
“I feel like there’s few coaches that are innovators in the game right now. Most coaches are just teaching what their coaches taught them. A lot of it just becomes an outdated technique in such a young sport. With Din, he’s really trying to get ahead of the game and ahead of the sport and he’s really trying to create his own style so it works uniquely.”
One more about Thomas, Robertson really applauds her coach in working with what their students are gifted at. This is what separates teachers from being good and great. “I feel like he lets you be yourself and that’s one of the best things about him. He’s not going to tell you you have to do this technique this way. He says if it works 75% of the time, it’s right. If it works for you, then it works for you. All body types are different and I feel like he understands that where a lot of coaches are going to be strictly teaching their style.”
Gillian Robertson vs. Andrea Lee
Andrea Lee made her professional debut in 2014, when Robertson was just finding her way. She remembers watching Lee on the regional scene and the fact that she gets trusted to fight such an opponent with experience is a great opportunity for Robertson to prove that she belongs in the top ranks of the women’s flyweight division.
“She’s definitely a big name for me. I want to say when I was an amateur, she was killing it in Invicta and LFA. It’s definitely a big matchup for me. I feel like it’s going to be a great fight. All of my game plans are essentially the same. Everybody knows I’m hunting for submissions and that the ground is going to be my world. Hopefully I have a little bit more to offer on my feet and hopefully I can land my ground and pound a little bit better.”
Robertson goes back to her coaching. The time she’s received with Din Thomas will shine, says Robertson. She believes that she’s become a better fighter by leaps and bounds since making the switch and that it will show, not only in the fight, but leading up to it as well.
“Every single fight, especially with having so much of Din’s attention, I’ve just been growing so fast. I’ve also been calmer going into fights. I know I’m ready going in there. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m going to win.”
As for the why, Gillian Robertson says it’s worth the watch. She says that her always hunting for a submission makes for fun fights and she’s not wrong. While her last fight went the distance, this time, Robertson is looking for another finish to add to her resume.
“There’s going to be an exciting fight and hopefully it won’t go the distance this time. That was the issue with my last fight. I’m looking for a finish always, I’m not looking to fight for 15 minutes.”
Check out our past interview with Gillian Robertson!
Gillian Robertson, AKA “The Savage,” takes on Sarah Frota this weekend at UFC 240. Robertson is riding a win coming into the fight and looks to gain some steam with her already built momentum ahead of the fight, hopefully launching her into the top 15 in the women’s flyweight division. Training out of American Top