Kelvin Gastelum is coming off arguably the most impressive performance of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. After hitting a low point by having his UFC 205 bout canceled due to reoccurring weight cutting issues, Gastelum fought like a man on a mission.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 17 middleweight winner met Tim Kennedy at UFC 206 in Toronto. Gastelum decimated his opponent and earned a third round TKO win.
The Mexican warrior recently spoke with MMAFighting.com. While Gastelum said he isn’t opposed to staying at 185 pounds, he still believes the 170-pound mark fits his frame the best:
“I’m not against (staying at 185), but I feel like welterweight is my optimal weight class. But I’m not against staying at 185. What I want is the No. 1 contender fight after this fight, whether it’s at middleweight or at welterweight. I want to fight for the No. 1 contender so I might get my title shot. But it doesn’t matter if I’m at middleweight or welterweight, I just want to fight the No. 1 contender.”
Gastelum’s next fight will be against Vitor Belfort. The two will share the Octagon on March 11 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Gastelum acknowledged “The Phenom’s” experience and how accustomed he’s gotten to being under the bright lights.
“He’s dangerous. He’s a very, very dangerous fighter. He’s been fighting for over 20 years. That’s something to respect. He’s been up, he’s been down, he’s been up again, he’s been down again. Right now, his last few fights haven’t gone his way, but he’s been in this position before so I’m not counting him out at all. I feel like he’s been in this position before, he’s been fighting for 20 years, so he should feel very comfortable coming into his fight.”
If Gastelum beats Belfort, it would certainly see him move up at least one spot in the middleweight rankings. That’s not enough for him, however, and he has claimed he won’t settle for anything less than a number one contender bout.
“That’s the only fight I’m willing to take. I’m not gonna take any other fight other than the number one contender fight.”