Kelvin Gastelum admits he shouldn’t have fought Darren Till at UFC 244 as he should’ve taken more time to heal the injuries he sustained in the Israel Adesanya fight.
Gastelum and Adesanya had an absolute war in one of the best fights in 2019. Although he came up short, Gastelum got right back in there which he says was a mistake.
“I realized I should have taken more time off after my fight against Israel,” Gastelum said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I felt like I needed to prove something after losing that title fight, and I kind of rushed myself back in there in a fight against Darren Till.
“Obviously, it didn’t work out in my favor. I wasn’t very emotionally invested in that fight. Obviously, I trained for that fight, and Darren Till had a great game plan for me and how to neutralize my game. I realized after that fight, I should have taken more time off.”
Since the loss, Kelvin Gastelum says he suffered a torn LCL and has been in recovery mode. He believes he’s almost recovered and is eyeing a July return.
“I’ve been recovering from a torn LCL back in January – I had a full tear,” Gastelum revealed. “No surgery needed, thankfully. Just been doing therapy on it and reconstructive therapy on it. It’s about 85 or 90 percent there.
“I’m just starting to grapple a bit, starting to box again. I’m starting to kick again. Training is picking back up a little bit. Just at the right time. Hopefully by July — I don’t know where this whole pandemic thing will be by then — but I’m hoping to fight by July.”
When he does return, Gastelum says he is still chasing the Israel Adesanya rematch as the loss burns him. But, for now, he’s focusing on Jack Hermansson as his next opponent.
“I like to be able to fight anybody in the top-five,” Gastelum said. “In my opinion, a fight with Jack Hermansson would make sense. We’re both coming off losses. He’s in the top-five. A win for either of us would take us where we need to go.
“We both need to work our way back up the division, back up to Adesanya. I feel that’s the one that makes sense, but you never know what the matchmakers are thinking.”