Kelvin Gastelum is on a tear in the UFC welterweight division, plain and simple.
The 23-year old phenom has been fighting professionally just under four years (pro debut December 11, 2010) and has already amassed a perfect 10-0 record, won FX’s The Ultimate Fighter Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen show, and now has a 5-0 record in the UFC.
What is even more impressive regarding the Yuma, Arizona native is the level of competition he is facing, and emerging victorious. Entering UFC 180, Gastelum sat outside of the UFC’s top 10 rank at number 11, his opponent, Jake Ellenberger (29-9) was ranked seventh. Yes, Ellenberger had just suffered his third-consecutive defeat in the hands of the up-and-coming Gastelum, but make no mistake the level of competition he faced was the best in the division, losing to the number one contender Robbie Lawler, and number two contender Rory MacDonald prior to that.
Gastelum is explosive. He has finished seven out of his 10 fights (3 TKO/KO, 4 Submissions) and is still growing. The question is, how much longer until we see Kelvin Gastelum fighting for a title? His victory at UFC 180 boosted him up to number seven in the UFC rankings (Ellenberger fell to 11).
There are currently three fighters above Gastelum with no scheduled opponent: Carlos Condit (#4), Tyron Woodley (#3), and Rory MacDonald (#2), although it is likely MacDonald gets the winner of Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks.
Dana White and the UFC probably won’t rush Gastelum to fight any of the three mentioned fighters right away. He is a star in the making with his aggressive style. If the opportunity however arose to fight one of those top three contenders, it would boost him even further to the top of the food chain for a taste of UFC gold, and at such a young age with such a bright future, the sky is the limit for Gastelum.