Kelvin Gastelum: ‘I Have a Lot More Heart and Will Than I Thought’

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Kelvin Gastelum came out of nowhere to win the seventeenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He wasn’t supposed to have won. That spot was reserved for Uriah Hall. 

But while Hall has faded from the spotlight, Gastelum has fought through the trials and tribulations of a tumultuous time at welterweight to emerge as one of the foremost middleweight fighters in the world. He has defeated the likes of Tim Kennedy, Michael Bisping, and Jacare Souza. He had also initially defeated Vitor Belfort, but the result of that bout was changed to a no contest after Gastelum tested positive to marijuana metabolites.

Now, he’s on the cusp of the greatest moment of his young career. Gastelum’s overall record stands at 15-3 (1 NC), but he next steps into the Octagon opposite Robert Whittaker. The two headline UFC 234 on Feb. 10 in Melbourne, Australia (Feb. 9 across North America), with Whittaker’s UFC middleweight championship on the line.

Though Gastelum has often talked of returning to welterweight, his sights right now are laser-focused on taking the 185-pound strap from Whittaker.

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Ahead of his leaving for Australia, Gastelum spoke with and other members of the media at a UFC 234 promotional luncheon in Los Angeles.