Article

Kelvin Gastelum: TUF's Upset King Goes for One More

"I know that once the fight comes, I’m gonna be in there and putting the fight on him and breaking all the hype pretty soon." - Kelvin Gastelum
TUF 17 finalist Kelvin GastelumBuilt like a Mack truck instead of the Little Engine That Could, The Ultimate Fighter season 17 finalist Kelvin Gastelum nonetheless snuck up on people on his way to Saturday’s finale in Las Vegas, beating four consecutive opponents on the reality show despite having only five previous pro fights.

“I think people counted me out in every fight, and I didn’t have an easy fight,” said Gastelum of his run through the field. “I didn’t have an easy road to the finale at all and I had to fight some of the best guys in the tournament. But I proved to myself and to the world that I belong in the finale.”

That he did, decisioning Kito Andrews, then submitting Bubba McDaniel and stopping Collin Hart before a semifinal submission of Josh Samman landed him across from Uriah Hall for the TUF 17 trophy. Not surprisingly, Gastelum finds himself an underdog yet again, not surprising given the growing legend of New York’s Hall, something the Yuma, Arizona resident has watched on a weekly basis.

“I’ve been watching it (the series), and they’re building him up, but it doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “I know that once the fight comes, I’m gonna be in there and putting the fight on him and breaking all the hype pretty soon.”

Teammates on Chael Sonnen’s squad, Gastelum and Hall were witnesses to each other’s quest to survive the six week competition, and while some recent TUF finales haven’t got the heart racing like those of the early seasons, this one is a notable exception, with the buzz growing as fans wait to see whether Hall’s knockout run continues or if Gastelum can do what he’s done all season against the odds, and that’s win. As for his thoughts on Hall and the fight, they’re straight to the point.

“I see great potential,” said Gastelum of Hall. “But every time I look at him I think of how I’m gonna beat him, and I just picture myself holding up that trophy on April 13th.”

It’s as focused as you’ll hear a fighter, and even though the show finished taping a while back, the former State champion wrestler hasn’t let his guard down yet. For him the show and the quest aren’t over until the final bell on Saturday night.

“I’ve got a great group of guys that are helping me out with the fight and they’ve been very supportive here at home and at the gym,” he said. “Everybody believes in me and I’m in a great environment and in a great mindset. We believe we can beat him.”

If his mindset and focus is impressive, consider that he’s done all this as a 21-year-old, making him the youngest competitor in TUF history. On one hand, you could say that helped matters, as younger fighters aren’t leaving as much back home as those who are older, and with just six fights, an early exit from the show wouldn’t hurt his budding career as much. He disagrees with that assessment.

“I don’t think my youth had anything to do with it,” he said. “I had everyday struggles just like everybody else, and I really channeled all my energy and all my thoughts into every single fight. I’ve been wrestling for nearly ten years and in college it was the same thing. I was around a group of guys for three-four months during all the days of wrestling season, and it was kind of the same experience there because we were all there for one reason.”

Fair enough. So let’s re-phrase it and ask where his maturity comes from. The response is terse, but it speaks volumes.

“In my life my family and I have been through a lot and I really had to grow up fast,” he said. On Saturday though, he can make those struggles of the past just that – struggles of the past – and begin a new life as a UFC fighter. That sounds good to him.

“I plan to win the show and hopefully get another fight or two sometime during this year and really build my way up,” he said. “I’m here to really try and stay for a long time in the company and make a name for myself.”

Watch Past Fights

미디어

최근
타이런 우들리는 UFC 167 대회에서 조쉬 코스첵을 상대로 KO승을 거둔다. 로비 라울러는 조지아 주 아탈란타에서 열리는 UFC 201 대회에서 우들리를 상대로 타이틀 방어에 나선다.
2016. 7. 25
웰터급 맷 브라운과 제이크 엘렌버거는 훈련에만 모든 것을 쏟고 있다. 양 선수는 훈련을 통해서 다시 한 번 승리를 향해 나아갈 수 있다고 믿고 있다.
2016. 7. 24
스트로급 로즈 나마유나스와 카롤리나 코발키비츠 타이틀 도전자로 나설 수 있는 기회를 두고 대결한다. 이들의 경기전략은?
2016. 7. 24
MMA에 뛰어든지 10년, 로비 라울러는 UFC 웰터급 챔피언으로 군림하고 있다. 그리고 이제 라울러는 긴 세월 타이틀 도전의 기회를 기다려왔던 강력한 레슬러 타이런 우들리를 맞아 타이틀 방어전을 치러야 한다.
2016. 7. 24