Miami, FL – Everybody knows that injuries, fights falling through, and personal issues are normal parts of adversity when it comes to the fight game, but UFC middleweight Kelvin Gastelum has had an specially rough time away.
“I’m not going to go into detail man, but it’s been hard bro. It’s been hard on me, it’s been hard on my family, it’s been hard,” Gastelum told reporters on Wednesday.
“Went through the valley of the shadow of death on my own. That’s kind of what it feels like.”
Gastelum (16-8) hasn’t fought since August 2021 where he lost a decision to Jared Cannonier. Since then he’s had three canceled fights, two against Nassourdine Imavov and one against Dricus du Plessis.
The Imavov cancelations, one was due to visa issues for Imavov, but the other was an injury Gastelum. Against du Plessis, Gastelum suffered an undisclosed injury.
“Like mentally I was getting depressed going through the injuries like ‘what’s going on with my life’ like why is this happening? I went through all that. Finally I’m on the other side now. I was able to get re-motivated,” Gastelum said.
“It’s hard getting up to train after going through all that, but I’m on the other side of it now, and I’m in a good place mentally, physically, spiritually. I’m very happy to be here.”
First fight in nearly two years and Gastelum has landed on a massive UFC 287 card with the middleweights being featured at the top of the bill, and he’s got a premiere fight against a worthy opponent. Chris Curtis is 4-1 in his UFC run so far and gets a big matchup with Gastelum on Saturday night.
“He’s been having a lot of success boxing people. You know he stays in your face and he boxes. I don’t see a lot of diversity in his game. He doesn’t kick a lot, he does kick a little bit, but not a lot. He doesn’t wrestle a lot, but he has really good takedown defense,” he said.
“Nobody’s been able to take him down and keep him down. So he’s just been able to box everybody. I think my game is a little bit more complete. I have more tools in my tool box and I’m going to be able to I think pull a lot of those out and you’re going to see a lot of my tools on display.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Kelvin Gastelum above. He takes on Chris Curtis at UFC 287 on Saturday night in Miami, FL.