Kelvin Gastelum only has one real desire this weekend and that’s to become the UFC middleweight champion.
As much as his focus remains on current champion Robert Whittaker, it’s impossible for Gastelum to completely ignore the co-main event happening just before he steps into the cage.
Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will look to turn back the clock when he faces Israel Adesanya in the co-headliner with the winner then moving onto face either Gastelum or Whittaker for the title.
Gastelum was actually scheduled to face Silva previously but the fight didn’t end up happening and he’s also kept a close eye on Adesanya ever since the flashy striker who trains out of New Zealand first joined the UFC’s roster.
“I like that fight. I’m excited they put that fight on my card,” Gastelum said about the co-main event. “Israel’s one of those up and coming stars that everyone’s high on right now and he’s facing the GOAT of the middleweight division. Dana said he’s going to get a title shot if he beats Israel so that’s even more implications into that fight.
“It’s going to be pretty cool to see them play against their styles. They’re going to play into each other’s styles really well and it’s going to be a fun matchup to see. Cause these guys are really unorthodox. They just bring a whole other kind of martial arts to the table that you don’t usually get to see. So it’s going to be fun to watch.”
Heading into Saturday night, Adesanya is an overwhelming favorite according to the odds makers to defeat Silva and position himself to fight for the title later this year.
At 43, Silva isn’t the same fighter he once was and the former middleweight king hasn’t strung together two wins in a row since 2012 but that doesn’t mean he should be discounted.
Gastelum considers Silva the greatest of all time and looking past him could cost Adesanya the opportunity of a lifetime.
“Anderson is Anderson. He can do anything he wants to,” Gastelum said about Silva. “Obviously, he’s not the same guy but he’s still Anderson and he will pull something off I think in my opinion. The old veteran’s still got it, I believe.
“He’s the GOAT. You can’t ever count out Anderson.”