After beating Vitor Belfort earlier this month in Brazil as part of UFC Fight Night 106, Ultimate Fighter 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum had another name in mind: Anderson Silva. And while he called Silva out after his big win that night, he never actually expected the fight to be made. Shocking everyone, just days later, the deal was done.
Gastelum (14–2) spoke about the signing, and Silva, on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani Monday. On the subject of “The Spider” accepting the bout, Gastelum told Helwani that he didn’t really expect it.
I thought it was going to be a problem, I didn’t think he was going to sign it, next thing I know he posted a video of him signing it, and waving his head like a weirdo.
He also knows the bout represents the chance of a lifetime. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to fight him, he’s the greatest of all time” Gastelum explained. Nor does he lack confidence. “Once the cage door closes, I expect the same results I had with Vitor as well.”
While many might shy away at the prospect of fighting legendary Brazilians in their home country (the fight against Silva will take place at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro), Gastelum isn’t one. Talking about his experiences in Brazil, Gastelum was very positive:
I like the whole experience, Brazil was very good to me, the fans were amazing. The whole Brazil experience was amazing. I’ve been trying to learn Portugeuse, I’ve been adopted into their culture… they kinda just brought me in, introduced me into their side. The Brazilians had a crazy reception for me. They’re very passionate people, it was cool.
Gastelum is also okay with the “Legend Killer” moniker that has been affixed to him of late, after sending Tim Kennedy into retirement, then dispatching Belfort.
Whatever gets people to talk. These are just the guys that are ranked above me – and it gets people talking. We’ll see if Anderson can take on a young up-and-coming guy like myself. I saw his last fight with Derek Brunson, and he has very little holes.
One mistake he won’t make, however, is holding back – something he felt Brunson was guilty of. “I think Derek Brunson showed him a little bit too much respect inside the octagon” Gastelum said of the pair’s 208 battle, which Silva won via decision. Clearly, the TUF winner doesn’t plan on doing the same.