Time and time again, Kelvin Gastelum gets asked what division he wants to compete in. His answer has usually been welterweight. He has long believed that 170 pounds is ideal for him. But his answer is slightly different now. His current preference is to fight at two classes — welterweight and middleweight — and go back and forth.
Right now, the 25-year-old is not committed to either division. He’s wanted to fight at welterweight, but was forced to temporarily move up to 185 pounds two years ago. He has since returned to welterweight, missed weight once, and moved back up.
He’s found lots of success in the heavier division in recent years, as well, so that’s slowed down the talks of moving back down to 170 pounds. That said, welterweight is still something Gastelum wants in his future.
“I don’t see why I can’t be competing in both weight classes,” Gastelum told BloodyElbow.com’s Nick Baldwin at his Huntington Beach, Calif., home. “I felt great at 185. I feel I can excel at this weight, and I feel I beat the top guys at this weight. I remember a few years back, I wasn’t very confident in my abilities. But now, a few years have passed, and I’m pretty confident in my abilities, confident in my skills to know that I can compete with the best middleweights and also the best welterweights.”
Gastelum is currently preparing for an upcoming main event matchup in the middleweight division, which will mark his second straight appearance at 185 pounds.
Gastelum immediately expressed interest in dropping to 170 pounds after his latest win, but later said he’d stay at middleweight should he be presented with an offer that he couldn’t turn down. As far as getting what he wants, so far so good. He mentioned former UFC champ Vitor Belfort, and that’s who he is lined up to fight.
“They’ve granted me my wish and they got me a fight I’m interested in — a main event fight in Brazil against a legend like Vitor,” he said. “I can’t say no to that.”
Gastelum isn’t worried about hindering his title hopes by fighting in two weight divisions. Of course, should he begin competing regularly at both middleweight and welterweight, he wouldn’t be able to be as active in both as he could be in one. That said, he believes fighting in both divisions will help him get to a UFC championship faster.
“I think it’ll open up my horizons even more,” he said. “Whatever fight gets me to the title fight faster is the fight that I’ll take.”
Gastelum still plans to work with renowned nutritionist George Lockhart for future middleweight contests, including his UFC Fight Night 107 bout with Belfort in Brazil, even though the cut to 185 pounds isn’t a struggle for him. Lockhart will still help keep the mixed martial artist’s diet in order in and out of fight camp.
“That’ll still be the plan,” he said. “George is the man. He’s helped me out these last few fights. I think we’re going to stick with the same plan. He does a good job of feeding me what I need to be fed during fight week, so I think I’m going stick with that.”
Lockhart will mainly help prevent Gastelum from gaining a significant amount of weight when he’s not in fight camp, which has happened before. And that’s the main reason Gastelum has missed weight multiple times.
“When I’m outside of camp, I gain 40 or 50 pounds above my weight class,” he said. “It shouldn’t have to be that way, and that’s on me. I go out and I eat all this delicious Mexican food. It’s just little changes of habits (and) lifestyle. So far I’ve been able to do well. I did well in the holidays that just passed; I did pretty good, surprisingly.”