Kelvin Gastelum names the hardest hitter he’s ever fought

Kelvin Gastelum, UFC 236
Image: via@ufc on instagram

UFC middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum has identified the hardest hitter he’s ever met inside the Octagon, and it’s none other than reigning UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya.

Gastelum was asked to name the hardest puncher he’s fought to date by a fan on Twitter, and pointed to Adesanya, who remains the only fighter to drop him in the cage.

“The only person that has dropped me has been Izzy,” he said. “So him.”

Gastelum met Adesanya in early 2019, with the interim middleweight title on the line. The pair battled for five, frenetic rounds in one of the year’s best fights, with Adesanya ultimately winning by decision.

Responding to another fan on Twitter, Gastelum admitted he didn’t expect Adesanya to be so resilient in their five-round war.

“I did not expect Israel to be as tough as he was,” Gastelum said. “The level of punishment taken on both sides would’ve made many, many, many great fighters quit.”

Gastelum was also asked whether he’d prefer a rematch with Adesanya, or a fresh fight with Paulo Costa, who will challenge the champion for the middleweight throne at UFC 253 in September. He clarified that his preference is for whoever leaves the cage with the middleweight title.

“Whoever has the title,” he wrote.

Kelvin Gastelum is currently on a three-fight skid, having come up short to Adesanya, Darren Till, and Jack Hermansson in his last three trips to the Octagon. He doesn’t currently have a fight booked, but is of course keen to correct his recent skid in the near future.