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Kelvin Gastelum 'surprised' UFC still wanted him to fight Tyron Woodley after pre-fight hospitalization

UFC contender Kelvin Gastelum talked about his decision to fight Tyron Woodley even after being hospitalized, as well as his plans to gun for the welterweight title again after he fights at middleweight.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Kelvin Gastelum's undefeated record came crashing down after a rather dull and action-starved split decision loss to Tyron Woodley at the co-main event of UFC 183 in January. The TUF 17 winner nearly was off the card entirely after being hospitalized on the day of the weigh-ins after experiencing flu-like symptoms. Gastelum weighed in at 180 pounds, 9 pounds above the welterweight limit, making it three times that he's failed to make weight on the first attempt. Still, the Nevada Athletic Commission gave him clearance to compete, and he predictably looked anything but 100 percent against Woodley.

In an interview with MMA Junkie, Gastelum talked about nearly withdrawing from the fight, plus his experiences leading up to it.

"I don't ever make excuses, and I don't want to say what it was that happened, but a lot of things were going on in my life at the time," Gastelum said. "I was thinking about maybe not taking the fight or maybe pulling out of the fight a few weeks before, but that's not my style. I don't pull out of fights."

According to him, the UFC wanted him to still fight Woodley even after his illness and weight-cutting problems were publicly known.

"I was kind of taken by surprise that the UFC wanted me to continue to take this fight," Gastelum said. "I was surprised by that, but I was just going with the flow. They were telling me what to do, and I was doing it."

The 23-year-old has effectively been forced to return to middleweight based on Dana White's post-fight remarks, but Gastelum still plans on returning to 170 lbs after he "takes his punishment".

"I still plan on being the welterweight champion one day, and I’m going to work my butt off to make sure that happens," Gastelum said. "Dana wants to punish me? He wants to put me up in the middleweight bracket? That’s fine. I’ll take my punishment. I’ll take responsibility for my actions and face it, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try to fight my way back down to welterweight."

As of this publish, there's no news on Gastelum's next fight, but he was recently named as head coach opposite Efrain Escudero on season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America.

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