Despite being a part of the UFC since April 13th 2013 (His first fight in the organisation Vs. Uriah Hall), Kelvin Gastelum is still seen as a hot prospect in the company. With a 9-2 record for the organisation, Kelvin Gastelum has had his fair share of fights for the world’s largest MMA company… his age though you ask… he’s still only 25. So in this list I’m going to count down 3 reasons as to why Kelvin Gastelum could be the future of the UFC.
Potential To Be Dual Weight World Champion
Competing at both Welterweight and Middleweight, Kelvin Gastelum has shown inconsistency in what weight class he wants to compete at inside the octagon. Beginning as a middleweight on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, Gastelum won the tournament by defeating the highly touted Uriah Hall via split decision; making him the youngest Ultimate Fighter winner of all time. Despite winning the Middleweight tournament, Gastelum would have success at Welterweight (Dropping down to that division after winning TUF), going 5-2 in his 7 fights at 170 lbs, Gastelum was forced to leave the division though due to weight issues and was forced to return to Middleweight.
Recently though, the 25 year old has been unstoppable at middleweight. Defeating Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort in his last two fights with knock out’s over both opponents, Kelvin is constantly teasing the idea of dropping back down to the 170 lbs weight class. This is one on the reasons why I believe he can be a dual weight world champion. With the current success that he has achieved at Middleweight. The San Jose native must be sky-high with his confidence and youth is certainly on his side. With the Middleweight division only having 2 of the top 8 being under the age of 32 (Gastelum being one of them), He certainly has to just continue fighting consistently and he will get that title shot soon enough; as well as him teasing that idea of dropping back down to welterweight, the thought of him attempting to avenge his first loss in his career to current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, has fans watering at the mouth; that is one of the reasons as to why I’m sure he will go back down to challenge him at some point in his career.
He’s Constantly Improving
Something that a lot of MMA fans have picked up upon and something that I’ve noticed too is how much Gastelum has evolved his game throughout the last 8 months. When looking at his performance against Johny Hendricks, it wasn’t a masterclass but at the same time he got the job done scoring the unanimous decision victory. After a little bit of time out but still being in a training camp (having to pull out of the Donald Cerrone fight the day before due to weight issues), Gastelum, had one of his best performances through out his whole career when he knocked out Tim Kennedy in the third round of their fight. His performance through out that fight was in the upper echelon of his career; putting everyone on notice in the Middleweight division. Timing, precision and speed was the key to him getting the victory over a top 15 opponent. But without a doubt, Kelvin Gastelum’s best performance in his career to date, was in his first round knock out of Vitor Belfort, over in Brazil. Knocking out the legend in just 3 minutes 52 seconds. Showing all the key’s to victory that he possessed last time, but this time with the power and strength to go along with it. With Kelvin set to take on the arguably greatest of all time Anderson Silva in his next fight. Watch out for Gastelum to look for another career defining victory over in Brazil.
And finally the last key feature that will be undoubtedly be important when helping Kelvin Gastelum become a star inside the UFC, is his popularity inside and out of the octagon. One unique feature that the Ultimate Fighter winner has is that not just Americans have a reason to get behind him. Gastelum’s mum is Mexican; something that he is very proud of, fighting in the Mexican colours on his Reebok shorts, Kelvin Gastelum always get’s a big ovation when fighting in Mexico, in the 3 times he has competed over there, Gastelum get’s a better reaction each time. Along with the Mexican fans on his side, the 25 year old has also recently gotten the support from Brazilian fans. Kelvin received some support from the Brazilians, but perhaps if he beats another Brazilian (Anderson Silva) in his next fight. That popularity may end up going south. Along with probably the 3 biggest markets that MMA possess, Gastelum has slowly began building a following over here in the U.K. as well as elsewhere in the world.
So, that was the 3 reasons as to why I believe that Kelvin Gastelum is the future of the UFC, with age being on his side, only being 25 will play a huge factor as despite having a ton of experience right now he is still one of the youngest fighters on the roster, Gastelum averages around 3 fights a year and if he doesn’t get into any arguments with the UFC regarding contracts then he potentially could be up to 26 fights with the organisation by the time he’s 30… that’s scary to think how much experience and how young this guy is right now! Along with his age, Gastelum is ever getting better; showing new techniques and skills each time he steps through that Octagon door.