KELVIN GASTELUM: FROM BAIL BONDSMAN TO WELTERWEIGHT CONTENDER
By: Dan Shapiro, FIGHTLAND
"When UFC welterweight Kelvin Gastelum first stepped foot inside the Octagon for a 2013 exhibition match on The Ultimate Fighter, no one thought much of the Yuma, Arizona product. Heck, even after he stepped out of the cage, winning a preliminary bout to gain entry onto the reality television show, coaches and critics were still not convinced that he had much of a future in the UFC.
"But now, just two years later, Gastelum, who eventually went on to win the TUF 17 tournament, finds himself near the top of the heap in the 170-pound division, and with a win over Tyron Woodley in the UFC 183 co-main event, he may even be closing in on a title shot.
"“In my mind I knew eventually this is what I wanted to do, I just never thought it would come very, very soon and at a very heavy dose,” explains Gastelum, 23, who has just finished his final day of sparring at San Diego’s Alliance MMA. 'Everything is happening so quick, but I’ve been able to pull through it and achieve what I’ve been wanting for a long time, which is fighting in the UFC and to be one of the best in the world.'
"Like so many of his combat colleagues, Gastelum’s rise from amateur wrestler to world-class MMA competitor began in a small town, where Octagon dreams and fight-night fantasies were a grand source of inspiration, but never reality."
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