When Kelvin Gastelum won The Ultimate Fighter 17 in April 2013, he was only 21 years old. He immediately dropped down a division to the 170-pound weight class and had some missteps making the weight. After failing to make weight twice, the California southpaw moved back to the middleweight division.
At UFC Fight Night 106 in March 2017, Gastelum scored the biggest win of his career when he knocked out legendary fighter Vitor Belfort. The win was overturned after Gastelum tested positive for marijuana metabolites following the event.
Now 27, Gastelum is more mature and one step away from a UFC title. He faces dynamic striker Israel Adesanya in the UFC 236 co-main event on Saturday and believes it’s his time.
“I think the time is now for me. I’ve been through ups and downs in my career. It’s been very public, and all of those events, the good and the bad, have led me to this point. I believe that it’s led me to be the person that I am now,” he said during a recent UFC 236 media function.
“It was several occasions. When I missed weight against (Tyron) Woodley, that was a big one. The failed test against Vitor was a big one too. It’s those things that have led me to become better and just more mature,” Gastelum explained.
Having made mistakes and learned from them, Gastelum is focused on winning the UFC middleweight championship. Still young in the game, he’s ready to add to his legacy.
“I feel like now is the time. Before, I think those things needed to happen for me to be able to be the person that I am now. Now I’m able to handle these things. Now I’m able to manage myself in a professional manner. I feel like now is the time.”