Since moving to the UFC’s Middleweight division not long ago, Kelvin Gastelum has risen rapidly to the upper echelon in the ranks of the division due to some of the spectacular wins he has put together.
Coming off another career defining victory against Jacare Souza at UFC 224, Gastelum believes he should be next in line for a crack at the UFC Middleweight title.
The Champion, Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker looked impressive in a hard fought decision win against the always dangerous Yoel Romero.
In that fight, Whittaker withstood some early damage by Romero, but was able to persevere through it and ended up getting the better of Romero as the fight went on.
Gastelum, who just so happened to be in attendance to watch the fight that night in Chicago, feels like most people, Romero did enough in the fight to walk away with the victory but is happy with the way the fight ended.
“I thought Romero would have been getting the nod, but obviously he didn’t,” Gastelum said. “And selfishly I thought, I was hoping they’d give it to Whittaker. Just because Romero had missed weight, he wouldn’t have been getting the belt and then it just would have created this whole scenario where I’m definitely not getting the next shot. It just wouldn’t be a position where I would be fighting for a title any time soon.”
Now with the UFC Middleweight Division more stacked than ever full of contenders who are capable of matching up with Whittaker, Gastelum believes he’s the one who’ll give “The Reaper” his toughest challenge to date.
“I know that he’s been offered the fight against me twice and he has not been wanting to fight me,” Gastelum told Luke Thomas on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “And I think that’s for good reason. I think I give him the most difficult time if we step in the cage and I think he knows that. In my opinion, I match up horribly for him.”
While it would be hard to argue Gastelum’s point, there is one issue however, that issue being there is a former UFC Middleweight Champion who would probably make that same claim in being the rightful #1 contender to take on Robert Whittaker, non other the “All American” Chris Weidman.
Though Gastelum boasts two signature wins over two of the best in the division, Michael Bisping and Jacare Souza, Weidman holds a victory of his own over Gastelum, submitting in the 3rd round in July of last year at UFC on Fox 25.
Since that time, Weidman who hasn’t fought in over a year, has spent the rest of his time recovering from an injury. Which is why Gastelum is confident he’s the next man up to face Whittaker.
“I don’t know how he feels he deserves it,” Gastelum said. “He’s been injured, he’s been out, unfortunately. But that’s just the way it goes. He says he’s the most decorated fighter, but that’s in the past, man. We’re talking about now. Active fighters, fighters who are winning fights and fighting in the big fights, they should be rewarded. And that should be me.”
“Chris Weidman thinks that he should get the shot over me?” Gastelum said. “I was ranked ninth when he fought me. He was coming off a three-fight skid. Since we fought, I’ve fought two top-five guys, two former champions.”
Do think Kelvin Gastelum will eventually get a shot at the UFC Middleweight Championship?