Shavkat Rakhmonov Kelvin Gastelum

Shavkat Rakhmonov welcomes Kelvin Gastelum to fight in his return to 170 lbs

Former interim UFC middleweight title challenger Kelvin Gastelum has officially announced his return to 170 lbs.

“I am making an official announcement, an official drop down to 170 (lbs). Expect my next fight to be at 170.

“I’m going to get shredded; I hope (haha). And I think I can make another title run at that weight class. I think I can make it (the weight limit). Why? (At) This time, and why now, and why not before? It’s just like I said, this is a second chance. This is a renaissance in my career, this is a rebirth.

“Before I was young, I was dumb, I was stupid, undisciplined. But now that I’m older, hopefully a little bit more mature and smarter, hopefully, everybody knows this has always been my weight class to go to. But it really just takes me to decide that I want to do it and now I decide that I want to do it, and I’m gonna do it.”

No. 6 ranked former M-1 Challenge welterweight champion Shavkat Rakhmonov has taken an opportunity to welcome Gastelum back down to 170 lbs, recently posting the following message to his Twitter account.

“Should I be the one to welcome Kelvin back to 170?”

This would be a very intriguing fight for the UFC to put together.

Kelvin Gastelum, following a 4-0 run on The Ultimate Fighter 17, would win his season with a victory over Uriah Hall (SD) in his promotional debut up at 185 lbs. He would then drop down to the welterweight division, where he went 4-1 during his initial run at 170 lbs, only losing a split decision to future, now former champion Tyron Woodley in that time.

However, Gastelum missed weight for that bout, weighing in at a whopping 180 lbs for the contest. He’d also missed weight once prior, weighing in at 172.5 lbs for his bout with Nico Musoke about seven months prior.

Gastelum then moved up to 185 lbs, where he defeated former Pancrase and Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt (TKO). Following this bout, Gastelum would move back down to 170 lbs where he’d go 1-1, first losing to Neil Magny (SD), then defeating former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks (UD).

Next, he was slated to face Donald Cerrone, a bout he didn’t even attempt to weigh in for as his weight was still well into the 180’s on weigh in day. Thus, the fight was cancelled, and he was forced to permanently move up to middleweight.

Gastelum went 4-1 through his next five bouts, defeating the likes of Tim Kennedy (TKO), former UFC champion Vitor Belfort (KO), losing to former middleweight champion Chris Weidman (arm-triangle choke), and defeating another pair of former middleweight champions in Michael Bisping (KO) and Jacare Souza (SD).

This led up to his title fight with then champion Robert Whittaker, who was forced out of the bout the day of their contest due to a medical issue. The result of this eventually saw Gastelum face Israel Adesanya for the interim middleweight title two months later.

Following one of the greatest fights any of us will ever see, Gastelum would go 1-5 over his next six outings before defeating Chris Curtis last month at UFC 287.

Now that he’s dropping back down to 170 lbs, where we all knew he belonged to begin with, someone like the 17-0 (8 knockouts, 9 submissions) Shavkat Rakhmonov may be the perfect opponent for him.

Gastelum would be Rakhmonov’s most credentialed opponent to date, though Rakhmonov did defeat Neil Magny (guillotine choke), someone Gastelum narrowly lost to.

Would you like to see Kelvin Gastelum face Shavkat Rakhmonov in his return to the welterweight division?

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