It’s been quite the journey for Micheal Gillmore, but just making it to the UFC isn’t enough for him.
Gillmore (6-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) quit his job to be a part of “The Ultimate Fighter 29” and remained in Las Vegas after tryouts until he eventually got the call as an alternate. But unfortunately, his excitement was cut short when he was quickly submitted by Gilbert Urbina.
He was then booked against fellow “TUF 29” alum Andre Petroski at UFC on ESPN 30 in August, but after a strong Round 2, Gillmore was stopped in the third.
“Competing against Andre, who I consider a friend after being teammates on ‘TUF,’ in my UFC debut was interesting because I’ve never fought a friend,” Gillmore told MMA Junkie. “Once we both stepped in the cage, we were professionals trying to win by any means, and after we walked out, still friends. I respect the hell out of him, his journey, and hope he continues to succeed. One of my favorite parts of my debut was getting introduced by Bruce Buffer. He was kind enough to record the reception intro for my wedding, so it was great to follow that up with the real fight introduction.”
Gillmore’s story has been a surreal one so far, but the 34-year-old hopes he’s granted at least one more opportunity in the UFC. The Michigan-based fighter and teammate of rising star Joaquin Buckley explains how Dominick Cruz winning the WEC bantamweight title in Columbus over 11 years ago inspired him, and how he hopes to compete in the UFC’s return to Ohio.
“My UFC debut didn’t end with my hand raised, which has made me even hungrier for the next time I step in the octagon,” Gillmore said. “I had been hoping to fight another time in 2021, but that didn’t work out. I’m eyeing the March 26 card reported to be in Columbus. I would love to be on this card for multiple reasons. The event is only two days before my birthday, so my first UFC win will be the best way I can think of to celebrate. The fight is close to Michigan, where I live and train. There are so many people here that have supported me from my amateur days through today that I know would make the drive to get to watch me on the biggest stage in MMA.
“Fighting with fans, my fans, is an exciting proposition. Lastly, Columbus is where I first decided I wanted to get into MMA. I had never even seen any MMA event, live or otherwise, prior to March 6, 2010. Dominick Cruz, a friend and high school wrestling teammate, fought and won the WEC bantamweight belt against Brian Bowles. From fight one to Dominick getting the belt around his waist, I was hooked. Winning my first UFC fight where my journey started 12 years prior will be a great story.”