Middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum is currently preparing for Jared Cannonier, who fights him in UFC On ESPN 29 Main Event, which takes place on August 31st at the UFC Apex.
Gastelum (17-7 MMA, 11-7 UFC) has been going through the toughest part of his MMA career but still believes he belongs with the big boys in the Middleweight division.
“My team and myself, we still believe that we belong at the top, and we still believe we can take these fights and win these fights,” Gastelum told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s media day at the UFC Apex. “That’s why we’re here.”
Gastelum has only one victory in five fights. A record that he has accumulated in five fights however, this losses came through the hands of very high ranking contenders on the UFC middleweight division. These includes current champion Israel Adesanya, former champion Robert Whittaker, Jack Hermansson and Darren Till.
Gastelum believed that those fights that resulted in his losses had very little preparation and was taken with unfavourable conditions. However for Cannonier, he has had a good training camp and believes he can emerge victorious.
“This time they gave me 10 weeks or nine weeks, you know, so I said, ‘Why not?’” Gastelum said. “Let’s actually get some real time to prepare for a good fight, for a top-five fight, and that’s exactly what we got, you know? Thankfully, we got it, and yeah, man, this is by far one of the best camps that I’ve had in – I don’t know if I want to say my career or in a few years, I don’t know – but honestly, it feels great.
“The preparation that we had for this camp was just unlike any other camp that I’ve had, and that’s where my confidence lies right now.”
Gastelum remains a significant personality in the UFC middleweight division, with a No. 12 ranking despite his recent struggles while Cannonier is ranked 4th on the USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie middleweight rankings, having lost a fight for the No.1 spot against former champion Robert Whittaker.
Gastelum also views Cannonier as a very good fighter but believes, he has got answers for every morning he be bringing to the Octagon on fight night.
“He’s a very strong fighter, a very strong-willed fighter, a very good fighter, you know, but at the same time, I mean, I’ve been fighting for a long time,” Gastelum said. ‘We know what he brings to the table. I’ve seen what he brings to the table, and I’ve experienced it in the cage, as well, and so we believe we have answers for everything he may bring.”
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