Kelvin Gastelum celebrates during the UFC Fight Night

Though he was on the losing side of the decision, former title challenger Kelvin Gastelum rates his fight with Israel Adesanya as one of his favorites.

Gastelum and Adesanya met in the UFC 236 co-headliner in April as they battled for the interim middleweight title and a chance to face Robert Whittaker for the undisputed crown. What ensued was a back-and-forth five-round war that could easily win Fight of The Year awards.

While Gastelum had his moments in the fight, he was dropped multiple times and eventually lost via unanimous 48-46 scorecards. Still, he rates the contest highly because of how it panned out.

“The [Michael] Bisping fight was a good night for me,” Gastelum said in a recent Q&A in Shenzhen, China, while having a few drinks. “But you know what? As a fighter, you always dream of going through those wars and having that ‘Rocky’ moment.

“And so, my last fight was kinda that. Although I didn’t win, it was such a back-and-forth battle, I was really proud of the work that I did there. Although it wasn’t the result that I wanted, I think my last fight was one of my favorites.”

Israel Adesanya lands a left punch against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236
Israel Adesanya lands a strike against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 (UFC/Getty Images)

Adesanya now faces Whittaker at UFC 243 and things are getting heated between the two. In fairness, Whittaker doesn’t seem rattled by Adesanya’s attempts at getting inside his head.

Though the buildup between Gastelum and Adesanya was mostly respectful, the former spoke of how one should never let emotions get the better of them before a fight.

“You stay calm,” Gastelum added. “We don’t let the nerves get the better of us. I feel like, if we let our emotions get the better of us, I might lose the fight because of my emotions. It’s about being calm, relaxed and focused.

“It’s a feeling that kind of starts here [points at heart]. If you let it, it will creep up throughout your whole body. You cannot let it creep up. You keep it down here. You got to suppress it.”

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