SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Kelvin Gastelum is looking to turn things around in his fighting career.
UFC middleweight and winner of The Ultimate Fighter 17, Gastelum (17-8 MMA, 11-8 UFC) is determined to bounce back from a losing slip and improve his form now that he’s made some major changes to his life.
Gastelum moved from California to Arizona and changed teams from Kings MMA to Fight Ready over the past year.
“Well, first of all, California, I had to get the hell out of here,” Gastelum told MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “It was crazy expensive. It was actually something that had crossed my mind before, and when given the opportunity to move, I did.
“Other than that, I have to change my game. Things are not going the way I want in my career. I need to change things. I made drastic changes coming here for Fight Ready and in Arizona, and you know, changing my whole environment, changing where I live and getting really uncomfortable.
“I think that’s really what it was. I was in a very good comfortable position in Huntington Beach, I lived very well, but I had to get by. I needed to turn things around in my life and make sure it was really what I wanted to do, and it is.
Gastelum has yet to fight on the Fight Ready team. He was supposed to have his first fight under the new banner in April at UFC 273, but an injury forced him out of the match. Gastelum will go without competing in 2022, as he is scheduled to return Jan. 14 against Nassourdine Imavov at a UFC Fight Night event in Las Vegas.
“It hasn’t been my best year, but I’m an optimistic person, so I’ve always kept my head pretty positive even though it hasn’t been the best of times this year,” Gastelum said. “So here we are. I’m recovered from my injury and I’m about to jump to another side here at Fight Ready, and hopefully the fight will continue.
“Last time I got injured a week later, and it was very unfortunate, and it’s been a tough process to get to this point, but we’re there.”
Gastelum is 1-5 in his last six fights. Not too long ago in 2019, the Mexican-American pushed current champion Israel Adesanya like never before in an ultra-competitive fight that is in the minds of many as one of the best title fights in the game. middleweight history.
The 31-year-old fighter is confident the change can make him a title contender again.
“I learned so much,” Gastelum said of his pivot to Fight Ready. “I think my game has evolved so much too. It’s a different environment, a different look, a different way of doing things, and it worked well. I had a full training camp until I got injured, so I can’t wait to get in there and show people what I’ve been working on.