Kelvin Gastelum is no stranger to hostile territory.
Two weeks ago, Gastelum took on former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight title holder Vitor Belfort in his home country of Brazil. Gastelum earned a first-round TKO victory, silencing the crowd in Fortaleza.
Gastelum will head back to Brazil to take on another future UFC Hall of Famer. Anderson Silva, who is coming off his first win since 2012, will share the Octagon with Gastelum on June 3 inside the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
MMANews.com recently spoke with Gastelum. The eighth ranked UFC middleweight said he has no issues fighting in his opponent’s home turf once again:
“I expect to be the bad guy, so I’m gonna be mentally prepared for it. I’m not gonna mind it, I expect it. I’m going in his home, I’m fighting a legend, I’m fighting the icon. And I’m gonna beat him up and I’m gonna feel bad doing it.”
Gastelum is only 25 years of age, but he’s already been on a roller coaster ride throughout his young professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career. He has come under scrutiny for failing to make the welterweight limit and still receives flak for wanting to make a 170-pound return.
Despite the low points, Gastelum has had many highs as well. He said the shifts in momentum have helped him grow as a fighter.
“It’s just about putting one foot in front of the other. The next thing you know, you look back and you’ve climbed the mountain. And that’s what I’ve done, I’ve taken it one day at a time. (I’ve) done a lot in this sport in a very short amount of time. I’ve had some ups, I’ve had some downs and I’m actually really glad I’ve had ups and downs. Anybody that’s been successful knows that it’s not all just about having your ups and not learning anything from it.”