Kelvin Gastelum will welcome Darren Till to the middleweight at UFC 244 in Madison Square Garden. The Englishman was calling for the fight with Gastelum, who was hesitant to accept the bout at first.
He was supposed to fight champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 234. He then fought Israel Adesanya at UFC 236 for the interim title. Why he didn’t want to fight Till at first is simple.
“At first thought, I was like, ‘I don’t know if it’s worth it for me to accept this kind of fight because he is coming off a two-fight losing streak,’” Gastelum said to MMA Junkie. “I feel like I’m still in title contention, and I feel like I should get one of those top guys. But I want to fight in Madison Square Garden.”
Although Kelvin Gastelum is ranked fourth in the division and was supposed to fight for the title earlier this year, he doesn’t believe Till moves him closer to that. But, he knows he is a big name. He also wants to show he has what it takes and is one of the best middleweights alive.
“I put a lot of thought on who my opponent is and why I’m fighting him. And will it get me to the title shot – will it get me closer to where I want to go,” Gastelum said. “I definitely asked those questions, and none of them applied to Darren Till. I don’t think if I win – it’s not going to get me a title shot. It’s not getting me closer. But I just think I need to go out there and make a statement against a guy like Darren Till because of my last performance. I want to go out there, I want to show that I’m still hungry. I’m still in contention, and I’m still one of the best guys around at this weight class.”
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime