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‘Shredded’ Kelvin Gastelum officially dropping back down to welterweight: ‘This is a rebirth’

MMA: APR 08 UFC 287 Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kelvin Gastelum is shaking things up in a big way.

At 21 years old, Gastelum — now 31 —became the youngest fighter to win a season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), earning his contract on Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) roster as a Middleweight. Once in the big leagues, the 5-foot-9 Gastelum immediately debuted at Welterweight, competing and succeeding in the weight class for four fights until a split decision loss to Tyron Woodley spelled the end of the run. Gastelum missed weight by nine pounds for the bout, resulting in his return to 185 pounds.

Gastelum made two more appearances at 170 pounds before sticking it out at Middleweight, defeating Neil Magny and former UFC champion, Johny Hendricks. In 2023, Gastelum feels the time is finally now to return to what he believes has always been his optimal weight class.

“I am making an official drop down to 170,” Gastelum said on Twitter. “Expect my next fight to be at 170. I’m going to get shredded! (laughs) I hope. I think I can make another title run at that weight class. I think I can make it.

“Why this time and why now and why not before? It’s just like I said, this is a second chance. This is a renaissance in my career. This is a rebirth. Before, I was young, I was dumb, I was stupid, undisciplined, but now that I’m older, hopefully a little bit more mature and smarter, hopefully.

“Everybody knows this has always been weight class to go to but it really just takes me to decide that I want to do it and now I decide that I want to do it and I’m gonna do it,” he concluded.

Gastelum recently returned to the win column, snapping a two-fight losing skid by defeating Chris Curtis via unanimous decision at UFC 287 this past month (April 8, 2023). The impressive showing was enough to earn Gastelum an extra $50,000 in the form of a Fight of the Night bonus.


Will Gastelum find better success back at 170 pounds?

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