Kelvin Gastelum is a BMF, and there aren’t a lot like him in the UFC.
Gastelum is set to make his return to the Octagon this weekend at UFC Vegas 34 against Jared Cannonier in a top-ten middleweight contest. Both fighters are coming off unanimous decision losses to Robert Whittaker in their most recent fights and will be looking to bounce back and improve their rankings.
It’s a high risk, but low reward fight for Cannonier as far as rankings are concerned. The number three ranked middleweight contender could potentially lose his spot if he fails to beat Kelvin Gastelum this Saturday. But if you keep rankings aside, Gastelum is a very credible test for Cannonier despite the fact that he’s ranked ninth and has lost four out of his last five fights. Over the years, the Mexican-American has built his reputation as one of the toughest fighters in the UFC, and his fight anytime and anywhere attitude is one of the reasons why he’s a fan favorite.
On the cusp of contention… A middleweight banger hits center stage SATURDAY😤
— UFC (@ufc) August 18, 2021
Here are three reasons why Kelvin Gastelum is a BMF.
Gastelum has fought top UFC fighters throughout his career, including Robert Whittaker, Israel Adesanya, Michael Bisping, Darren Till, Tyron Woodley, Vitor Belfort, Chris Weidman, Uriah Hall, and Jacare Souza, and he’s only 29-years-old. A few years down the road, most, if not all, of these gentlemen will be inducted into the UFC hall of fame.
Five of the aforementioned gentlemen are former UFC champions, and one is the current middleweight titleholder. Judging by that, Gastelum has one of the best resumes in the UFC currently, irrespective of wins or losses. He has notable wins over Bisping, Jacare, Belfort (which was later ruled a no-contest because Gastelum tested positive for marijuana), Johnny Hendricks, Tim Kennedy, and Jake Ellenberger.
Although Gastelum has lost to Whittaker, Adesanya, Till, and Woodley, he went toe to toe with them. Gastelum never takes the easy way out, and that’s why he’s a BMF.
The number nine ranked middleweight is 17-6 in MMA, but he’s a lot better than what his record suggests. Kelvin Gastelum has been fighting for 8 years now, with 19 fights in the UFC. He has headlined six UFC cards and has fought for a UFC title. He has four Fight of the Night, and three Performance of the Night bonuses to his name.
Gastelum is also the only man to have truly tested Adesanya at middleweight, despite being badly hurt multiple times during their five-round war at UFC 235 for the UFC interim middleweight title, which Adesanya won by unanimous decision. Their fight was named Fight of the Year by several media outlets. He also earned a Fight of the Night bonus or his five-round fight against Whittaker.
He’s As Game As They Come
His stats and records are incredible for a man who’s only 29, but what makes him a true BMF is his fight, anyone, anywhere, and anytime attitude. In his most recent fight against Robert Whittaker, he stepped in on a few weeks’ notice to replace Paulo Costa. Although he lost by unanimous decision, it takes major guts to step in on short notice against a fighter of Whittaker’s caliber.
He was also not supposed to fight Cannonier this weekend. It was Paulo Costa again, who was originally expected to face ‘The Killa Gorilla’, but Gastelum stepped in as a replacement after the Brazilian said that he never signed the contract in the first place. Luckily, Gastelum has had enough time to prepare for his fight at UFC Vegas 34, and we should expect fireworks.
While Gastelum has pulled out of his fights due to weight cut issues, his opponents have also failed to show up on multiple occasions and were replaced. Gastelum never shied away from competing against anyone. He’s as game as they come.