Before the most important fight of his career, you will not see Kelvin Gastelum in a war of words.
A cordial approach to the promotion is par of course for Gastelum, even as he prepares to fight Israel Adesanya for an interim middleweight title in the co-main event of UFC 236 on April 13. The stakes are clear to him: a shot to add a UFC belt to the trophy case and deliver Adesanya the first loss of his MMA career.
That is all the motivation that Gastelum needs and until now it seems that the same is true for Adesanya. "The Last Stylebender" has been respectful and actually said he was "excited" about the possibility of fighting Gastelum. Even if the discussion about garbage increases during the week of the fight, it is unlikely that you will reach the level of some of your most ardent UFC teammates.
Gastelum was in Los Angeles for a media lunch on Thursday, and was asked what he thought about the increasingly ugly enmity between his rivals Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, which has some fans and experts wondering if both men have gone further. there with their insults.
"I just think there are some lines that should not cross and this rivalry that is developing at this moment is intensifying to a point where I should not have to do it," Gastelum said. "And I feel like if he keeps climbing like this, someone will end up hurt or shot or something, I really believe it."
Nurmagomedov and McGregor already had their chance to adjust the score in the Octagon when they met at UFC 229 last October. There, Nurmagomedov successfully defended his lightweight title with a presentation of McGregor in the fourth round in a fight that was supposed to be the culmination of a long dispute that presented questionable antics outside the cage of both men. Instead, it could be said that the situation worsened when Nurmagomedov immediately climbed into the cage after his victory and attacked McGregor cornerman Dillon Danis, provoking a brief riot.
The suspensions and fines were handed over to Nurmagomedov, McGregor and his badociates who were involved, but the bad blood does not seem to have been resolved. His recent public attacks among them have been deeply personal and Gastelum believes that some issues should be considered out of bounds, regardless of the volatile nature of the fight's business.
"You should not get involved with people's wives, you should not mess with people's family or religion, absolutely," Gastelum said.
If the tensions increase between him and Adesanya, Gastelum does not seem worried. UFC 236 will mark his fifteenth ride to the octagon and he has already seen and heard everything.
"There are so many people who have tried to get under my skin and I have a pretty thick skin," said Gastelum. "I do not play on those things."
In any case, Gastelum has learned to roll with the blows, and not only those of his fellow fighters. The 27-year-old showed a brave feature at UFC 234 in February, walking through Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, with a UFC belt and declared himself the true champion when a hernia toppled the undisputed middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. . Meeting of the event only a few hours before the show.
He heard it from fans, many of whom were there to see Whittaker, based in Australia, defend his title, and admit that the reaction was refreshing.
"I enjoyed doing it," Gastelum said. "Definitely out of my character, but I enjoyed doing it, it was great, I got some boos, I got some applause, got people to call me an badhole, it was great, it was something different and I enjoyed it."