The story of Kelvin Gastelum on The Ultimate Fighter is one of the better narratives to come out of the UFC's flagship reality program. From the very last pick of the season to a major upset victory against the heavily hyped Uriah Hall in the final bout of the season, Gastelum is living proof of the opportunities presented by participation in the show.
When appearing on The MMA Hour yesterday, Gastelum said that he was close to quitting MMA when he made the decision to attend the tryouts for the show:
"I was sitting in my office one day," Gastelum recollected on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "And then I saw the (TUF 17 tryouts) ad and I was like, ‘Hey, I guess I'm going to go and tryout, see what happens.' Because before that I was struggling. I was about ready to quit MMA for a while, and just get another job because obviously I wasn't doing well financially.
"I was like, man, if I don't make it, it's going to be a while until I'm back in a cage somewhere. Luckily it worked out all in my favor."
Gastelum has a UFC contract now and his MMA career looks like it'll be ongoing for quite some time. Kelvin says that it may just be taking place at a lower weight as he plans to cut from middleweight to welterweight:
"I haven't talked with Dana (White) or Joe (Silva) or anybody, but yeah, that's what my next move is, or what I want it to be," Gastelum revealed. "I haven't really talked to anybody about it yet.
"I am [confident I can make 170.] All my fights have been at 185, but I know that once I get the diet going and my work outs, I'll be able to make 170 for sure."
Gastelum's body is still developing. He's only 21 years old and did look like a cut to 170 would be easy. That said, I wouldn't be shocked to see him back at middleweight somewhere down the road as he grows into a full time fighter's body.