Kelvin Gastelum believes he’s due for an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight title shot.
This past Saturday night (May 12), Gastelum took on Jacare Souza in he co-main event of UFC 224. The two went the distance in an exciting back-and-forth tilt. The bout earned “Fight of the Night” honors. In the end, it was Gastelum who won via split decision.
Going into the fight, Gastelum said he felt he needed to make a statement if he was to expect a title opportunity. While Gastelum didn’t get the first-round knockout he hoped for, he did put on quite a show for the fans and may have punched his ticket for a future 185-pound title shot. It doesn’t hurt that Chris Weidman, the last man to defeat Gastelum, is recovering from surgery.
Speaking to the media during the post-fight press conference, Gastelum said he’ll wait for his title shot (via MMAJunkie.com):
“I definitely feel like a title shot should be next. I don’t think I’d accept any other fight than the title shot. I’m the most active middleweight there has been. All the guys that I fought are top 10 and former champions. So I feel like I’m deserving.”
Gastelum is 3-1, 1 NC since returning to the middleweight division after defeating Johny Hendricks at UFC 200. Before his bout with Souza, Gastelum earned a first-round knockout win over former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping. He’ll be paying close attention to the UFC 225 middleweight title bout between champion Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero.
No matter who wins the main event of UFC 225, it’ll be a fresh match-up for Gastelum. The problem lies if Romero wins. It isn’t hard to see the UFC wanting to book a trilogy bout between Romero and Whittaker in that situation. This would pretty much force Gastelum to take another bout.
Do you think Kelvin Gastelum deserves a title opportunity?