We’re so proud of our team! Find out how they’ve been doing, as well as what else has been going on at our gym lately.
LOS ANGELES – Kelvin Gastelum experienced a variety of different emotions when he watched Israel Adesanya finish Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 on Saturday night.
Ranging from disappointed to respectful to confident and motivated, Gastelum was feeling all sorts of ways when the belt was wrapped around Adesanya’s waist.
Originally scheduled to face Whittaker at UFC 234 in February, Gastelum ended up losing an interim title fight to Adesanya when the champion withdrew due to injury.
In one of the unofficial best fights of the year, Gastelum and Adesanya stood toe-to-toe for five rounds. Both men had their moments, but it was the Nigerian walking home with the interim strap.
Simply put, Gastelum was disappointed in Whittaker’s performance Saturday. A fighter Gastelum stood in the pocket with for 25 minutes finished the champion he was supposed to get an undisputed title shot against. If things had played out as originally planned, Gastelum believes the title would’ve been his.
“It was rather disappointing to be honest, to see Robert Whittaker go out the way that he did,” Gastelum said. “I think maybe the ring rust was a factor. I feel like back in February, I was robbed of an opportunity. To see him go out there and perform the way that he did was disappointing.”
In regard to Adesanya, Gastelum sang a different song. The 27-year-old middleweight has nothing but respect for the newly crowned UFC champion and expressed his respect for Saturday’s performance.
“Big ups to ‘Izzy’ – he showed up big and fought his fight,” Gastelum said. “He looked great. I think my respect for him grew even more. He’s a guy I really enjoy watching and respect now I think even more. But at the same time, he’s got what I want.”
Coinciding with Gastelum’s respect are feelings confidence and motivation. Knowing how close he came to having edged out a decision over the now-champ, Gastelum is eager for a rematch.
While he’ll be facing a tough matchup in the form of Darren Till (17-2-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC), Gastelum (15-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) can’t help but think about what may be on the other side.
“I feel like him and I – the rematch will be inevitable,” Gastelum said. “It has to happen, without a doubt. I know he’s got a few things to do before, and so do I. I have Darren Till in November, but I can’t help but to look ahead of that. Just because I want to get back to where I was and fight ‘Izzy’ again. I know what I can do.”
Gastelum said his self-belief has been furthered by a relatively unknown factoid – he was battling an infection when he competed against Adesanya in February.
“Most people don’t know that I was sick before that fight,” Gastelum said. “I haven’t really come out in the media and said it just because I don’t like to put out excuses. I tipped my hat off to him that night and let him go enjoy his ride, but I think it’s time to let people know. I was not at my best for that fight.
“I was maybe 60 or 70 percent for that fight. People don’t know I was taking antibiotics six or seven days before that fight. I was on antibiotics, I had congestion in my lungs where I couldn’t train for about two or three weeks. So I was not fully prepared for that fight.”
Riding the wave of emotions from last weekend’s title fight, Gastelum has settled into a general mode of excitement. He believes fans will see one of his most dominant performances to date inside Madison Square Garden.
“I think my plan for this fight is to go out there and dominate,” Gastelum said. “No matter what it is. No matter if it’s me knocking him out in the first round, which I think I can do and can happen, or me going out there and submitting him. I think I’m just going to go out there – I have to make a statement.
“I have to make a statement and put on a dominant performance like you guys haven’t seen. Honestly, I’m so fired up for this fight.”
We want to make sure that Ludus MMA is the right fit for you before asking you to commit to a membership.
That’s why we’d like to offer you a FREE ONE-DAY PASS to our gym.
With your FREE PASS, you can: