Weight Cutting Chronicles: Kelvin Gastelum — A Timeline

UFC Vegas 34 weigh-in - Kelvin Gastelum
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 20: Kelvin Gastelum poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on August 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Ahead of UFC Saudi Arabia this Saturday, word made the rounds (and was confirmed) that Kelvin Gastelum was unable to make the welterweight limit, necessitating a change in weight to 185lbs for his fight with Daniel Rodriguez. It’s not the first time Gastelum has struggled with his weight; ahead of the event’s official weigh-in, here’s a refresher.

Kelvin Gastelum (18-9 MMA, 12-9 UFC)

Welterweight (170lbs.): 5-2 (UFC), Missed weight 3x in UFC

Catchweight (180lbs.): 0-1 (UFC) *(Result of badly missing weight)

Middleweight (185lbs.): 7-6, 1 NC (UFC), 4-0 (TUF), Former UFC Title Challenger, The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 Winner

Kelvin Gastelum has struggled with his weight for the entirety of his UFC career. He’s been covered over 10 times on WCC, and it’s unfortunate as The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 winner is a very talented fighter. He’s had a long and storied career with the promotion. Kelvin has been a step away from being a UFC champion a couple of times throughout his career with the promotion. And at multiple weight classes.

Issues with his weight and recently, injuries, have held Kelvin back in a big way. Kelvin, standing at 5’9″ and 71.5″ is stocky but with his skills and body type, belongs at 170lbs. As can be seen through a timeline of his UFC career, Kelvin had success at middleweight though it’s been limited.


November-December: A 21-year-old Kelvin competes in The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 at 185lbs. Kelvin was the second to last fighter picked for the teams. Gastelum defeated Kito Andrews and finished Bubba McDaniel, Collin Hart and Josh Samman to compete for the TUF 17 Finale.


April: Kelvin defeated Uriah Hall via split decision to become the TUF 17 Winner.

August: Kelvin moved to the 170lbs. division and defeated Brian Melancon via first round submission.


March: Kelvin defeated Rick Story by split decision.

*June: Ahead of his bout against Nico Musoke, Kelvin weighed in overweight at 172.8lbs.  Kelvin was still able to capture a unanimous decision victory the following night.

November: Kelvin submitted Jake Ellenberger in the co main event of UFC 180. The round one sub earned Kelvin a performance bonus and a title eliminator fight.


*January: Kelvin misses weight ahead of his title eliminator bout against Tyron Woodley. Kelvin weighs in at 180lbs. and ‘T-Wood’ agreed to have the welterweight bout changed to a catchweight bout at 180lbs. To make matters worse, Kelvin would lose the bout by split decision. This would also be the first of two times for UFC President Dana White commenting that Kevin should not fight at 170lbs. with White telling Combate at UFC 183, “This was the last time he will fight at welterweight.” White stated,

“He has weight issues, had to go to the hospital and was cleared by the doctors to come to the weigh-ins. He came in 10 pounds over. He will have to move up to middleweight.”

June: Kelvin would stop Nate Marquardt at 185lbs.

November: Kelvin was right back in the cage at 170lbs. losing a split decision to Neil Magny.


July: Kelvin fights former UFC welterweight champ Johny Hendricks, who was just two fights removed from holding the belt. He was able to win a unanimous decision and be a part of UFC 200.

*November: Gastelum was scheduled to fight Donald Cerrone on the historic UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor card in New York. Gastelum reportedly was around the weight of 180lbs. and never actually hit the scale thanks to him being so overweight. That fight, a huge opportunity and move up in the ranks, was canceled.

This would be when Dana White declare say for the second (and more final time),

“I’ll never let him fight at 170 again.”

This time speaking to FOX Sports ahead of UFC 205.

December: Returning to 185lbs., Gastelum would fight on UFC 206, defeating Tim Kennedy via TKO in the third.


March: Gastelum graced his first UFC main event, stopping veteran Vitor Belfort in the first round (the bout was later ruled a No Contest).

July: Gastelum would lose to former middleweight champion Chis Weidman. ‘The All American’ was two fights and 19 months removed from holding the belt. Kelvin was submitted in the third round in his second appearance in a main event.

November: Gastelum retired former middleweight champ, Michael Bisping, finishing him in the first. This was another main event for Gastelum. The KO earned Gastelum a performance bonus it was Bisping’s first fight since losing the belt to GSP.


May: Kelvin earns a split decision against Ronaldo Souza in the co main event of UFC 224. The fight was a title eliminator and won fight of the night honors.


April: Kevlin loses in the UFC interim middleweight title fight against Israel Adesanya. The fight would go down as one of the greatest of all time and win fight of the night honors.

November: For his second co main event of the year, Gastelum would face Darren Till. ‘The Gorilla’ would edge out Kelvin with a split decision nod in the middleweight fight.


July: Kevlin would be in yet another co main event bout against Jack Hermansson. Gastelum would lose in the first round via heel hook.


February: Kelvin won a unanimous decision against Ian Heinisch at UFC 258.

April: Kelvin fell to former middleweight champ, Robert Whittaker. Whittaker won a unanimous decision and was two fights removed from losing the title. This would be yet another main event appearance in the UFC for Kelvin.

August: Kelvin lost another unanimous decision to Jared Cannonier. This fight would be Kelvin’s fifth main event appearance.


April: Kelvin has another fight of the night winning performance against Chris Curtis, earning a unanimous decision victory.

December: Gastelum returns to 170lbs. for the first time in nearly seven and a half years. When speaking to the media ahead of the return he stated exactly how he planned to stay at the weight saying, “Dedicate to my diet a little bit more. This has always been my rightful weight class.”

Unfortunately, Kelvin lost a unanimous decision to Sean Brady on fight night.


Kelvin and Daniel Rodriguez agreed to fight at 170lbs for their fight on UFC Saudi Arabia.  But on Thursday morning Kelvin notified UFC officials that he wasn’t going to be able to make weight.

D-Rod spoke to the media at UFC Saudi Arabia saying, “Actually the matchmakers reached out. I tried to get it to a catchweight, but he must be having such a bad fight camp that he can’t even make 180”. At the moment, looks like the fight will go ahead as a middleweight bout.

This is an incredibly tough situation for Kelvin to be in as he told MMA Junie in an interview with Mike Bohn, Tuesday, before the weight cutting woes,

“I’m in a must-win situation. I think both of us. I think loser goes home. Loser packs and goes home and doesn’t sign with the UFC.”