Kelvin Gastelum recorded what is likely the biggest win of his professional mixed martial arts career when he knocked out former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping in China last year. Gastelum’s next big test comes May 12 when he meets Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at UFC 224. Tony Reid of MyMMANews.com caught up with Gastelum to discuss a few things ahead of the fight.
Tony Reid – If you could choose one underrated fight from your career that every MMA fan should see, which fight would you choose and why?
Kelvin Gastelum – “I would say my fight against Brian Melancon. One thing I am particularly proud of in that fight was that it got my career going in the UFC. Most people fail to get their career going and to get that first post TUF win was great. It was really exciting.”
Tony Reid – Can you talk about how your style lends itself to ending the fight before the final bell?
Kelvin Gastelum – “Any opportunity I get to finish I will go for it. That’s what it’s all about, taking those risks, taking those chances and taking advantage of them. That’s just what I do. I take risks. So far it has worked out for me.”
Tony Reid – Who has the heaviest hands of anybody you have fought?
Kelvin Gastelum – “I would say Brian Melancon. He has some heavy, heavy power in his hands. I was a little bit more patient in that fight. I felt his power though.”
Tony Reid – You work as a bail bondsmen when you aren’t spending in the cage. Can you share a story with us from your other job?
Kelvin Gastelum – “I remember bailing out two brothers and they went on the run, they didn’t go to court for their cases. So they has warrants out for their arrests. This was our bond so we had to go arrest these guys. We set them up by calling the girlfriend of one of the brothers and the girlfriend eventually ratted them out. With the help of the girlfriend we set them up to bust them at a gas station. The girlfriend drove them to the gas station and they were met by us in three cars and we rolled up on them. These guys were legit gangsters, so we figured they were pretty dangerous. We had our bulletproof vests on and guns and did it like a drug bust. It was cool.”
Tony Reid – Everyone that watched your career blossoming stint on TUF saw the call you got from Ronda Rousey during your time on the show. What are your thoughts on the swing in public opinion after her appearance on TUF 18 and in the time since?
Kelvin Gastelum – “I think Ronda is just being Ronda. She genuinely didn’t like Miesha. We all learned not to get on her bad side after that. I think she just isn’t willing to be fake, whether she’s on camera or not.”
Tony Reid – Also during your time on TUF you spent time with the one and only Chael Sonnen. Is there a Chael story you can share with us?
Kelvin Gastelum – “Chael is an interesting guy. He is a great guy. He is just one of the nicer guys in the sport. I see him at the events and he is always really nice and respectful to me and my people. I am really grateful to have had him as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter. He is a great coach, a great mentor and a great person. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Tony Reid – What was the pinch me moment early on from the attention you received from your time on national TV on TUF and your early run in the organization?
Kelvin Gastelum – “It has to be going to these events and meeting so many fans and actors, musicians and people like that. You see all kinds of different people and opportunities open up to you. I was at the fights in Sacramento and I went up to The Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis to introduce myself and he said “Hey, I know you! I’m a big fan!” That was really cool. I have been a big fan of his group and now he’s telling me he is a big fan of me. That was a really cool moment.”
Tony Reid – Who are your favorite fighters to watch and why? Conversely, who are your least favorite fighters to watch?
Kelvin Gastelum – “I got the chance to see Georges St. Pierre fight live awhile back. He has always been my favorite fight and someone I always looked up to as I was coming up.”