Kelvin Gastelum will be stepping back inside of the Octagon as a welterweight tomorrow night (Sat., Dec. 2, 2023) at UFC Austin live on ESPN/ESPN+ from inside Moody Center in Austin, Tex., for the first time since UFC 200 all the way back in 2016.
Gastelum, who has been part of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for the past decade, has experienced a career chock-full of bad weight cuts, poor dietary management, and questionable dedication when not in camp. This has prohibited the former Ultimate Fighter winner from capitalizing on his true potential and making a real run at UFC gold.
For the past seven years Gastelum has enjoyed a stay in the UFC’s middleweight division. It’s not an ideal weight class for Gastelum as his natural body makeup suggests he’s a lifer at 170 pounds, but it allowed the veteran fighter to eat more during camp, not have to worry about a strenuous weight cut during fight week, and to feel more refreshed when he steps inside of the Octagon.
However, after producing a dismal 2-5 record over his last seven appearances in the UFC’s middleweight division Gastelum is officially making his move back down to welterweight. It all starts this weekend against 170-pound contender, Sean Brady, who is a pretty big body for the welterweight division. It will be up to Gastelum to prove he’s still a top fighter in the weight class and give fight fans something to look back on heading into the new year.
Luckily, Gastelum seems dialed in ahead of his welterweight return. The 32-year-old fighter has taken his diet more serious and looks to be in arguably the best shape of his fighting career (or at least since the last time he competed at 170 pounds).
If you don’t believe it then check out the side-by-side picture of Gastelum below. The top photo is Gastelum from Saturday’s UFC Austin weigh ins (replay HERE), while the bottom photo is Gastelum ahead of his last middleweight contest at UFC 287 this past April.
We’ve also compiled a side-by-side photo of Gastelum’s welterweight weigh-in from Saturday and the last time he competed at 170 pounds, which came against Johny Hendricks back at UFC 200 in 2016. Check that one out below:
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Austin fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.