Kelvin Gastelum reflects on loss to Israel Adesanya: “It burns in my heart to know I was that close”

Kelvin Gastelum

UFC middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum has spoken about his historic defeat at the hands of Israel Adesanya back at UFC 236.

It’s not an exaggeration to claim that Gastelum’s war with Adesanya for the Interim UFC Middleweight Championship was easily the Fight of the Year for 2019, which is saying something given the volume of world class fights we saw throughout those twelve months.

In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Gastelum spoke candidly about the impact that loss had on him.

“I’m very proud of the effort that I put in that fight and what we did in that fight despite the circumstances, and I’m very proud of that fight because I got to do a lot of things that I haven’t been able to do in a lot of other fights,” Gastelum said. “I’m very proud of it. At the same time though, this is not why I got into the sport, to say and look back, ‘I almost did it. I was this close.’ No, man. I’m not going to be one of those people.

“I’m not really worried about it right now, but when people ask me, and they’re like, ‘You were this close,’ it sucks. It burns in my soul. It burns in my heart to know I was that close, and I just won’t let it happen again.”

Gastelum has long been tipped to become a world champion in the UFC, but in the wake of his split decision loss to Darren Till, it’s going to be quite some time before he’s back in contention again. 

When he next steps back into the Octagon, it’s essential that he puts on a real show if only to get him one step closer to an enticing potential rematch with Israel Adesanya.

Who do you want to see Kelvin Gastelum fight next?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/14/2020.