When Kelvin Gastelum broke in his six-figure UFC contract in spectacular fashion on Wednesday night with a quick submission victory over Brian Melancon, I couldn’t help but think what was going through Uriah Hall’s (pictured) head at that moment.
Remember, courtesy of his nonstop highlight reel footage, it was Hall who was dubbed MMA’s next big thing when filming wrapped on their season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Hall was supposed to be the one to take the TUF tournament, score the lucrative contract and have a perfect 2-0 UFC record at this point.
Instead, it is Gastelum who achieved all of the above and has the world at his fingertips. Hall’s future in the big leagues isn’t as bright. In fact, it’s looking rather bleak.
UFC president Dana White essentially called him a nice guy who chokes when the lights came on following his loss to Gastelum. He then said Hall “is not a fighter” after dropping an uneventful decision to John Howard earlier this month.
Knowing that his MMA career will always be linked with Hall’s, Gastelum was asked why he thought his TUF castmate is having such a rough go in real fights.
“I have no idea,” a confused Gastelum responded. “I’ve trained with him. He performs great in practice, he was kicking everybody’s ass. I have no idea what happened in his [last] fight.”
Do you think he lacks the killer instinct needed to succeed inside the Octagon, like White suggested?
“Yeah, most likely,” Gastelum stated. “It’s mental, definitely. He’s gotta make that switch when he gets into that cage.”