UFC middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum knows that fights against Nassourdine Imavov and Dricus Du Plessis are risky, but he isn’t worried.
Gastelum was originally supposed to face Imavov at UFC 273 before Imavov pulled out of the fight due to travel visa issues. He’ll now face Du Plessis, who was originally slated to face Anthony Hernandez on the card.
Gastelum is looking to get back on track in the middleweight division after losses in five of his last six fights. He’s been unable to replicate the same success he had before his interim middleweight title loss to Israel Adesanya.
Gastelum is currently ranked as the No. 10 middleweight contender in the UFC and was supposed to face No. 11 in Imavov. Now, he’ll face an unranked Du Plessis who could potentially take his place in the rankings with a win.
During a recent interview with The Underground’s John Morgan, Gastelum explained why those risks are worth taking at this point in his career.
“There was a little bit of that,” Gastelum said. “But at the same time, it’s like, at this point, it doesn’t matter. I’m so well prepared, it doesn’t matter who steps in there. I just wanna be able to fight April 9. It’s what has been on my mind for freaking 12 weeks now. So, that’s what I had on my mind, that’s what I’m keeping on my mind, and that’s what I’m gonna get.”
Gastelum most recently suffered losses against former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and top contender Jared Cannonier. Adesanya is expected to face Cannonier for the next middleweight title fight.
Gastelum remains one of the most dangerous middleweights in the UFC, but he desperately needs a win to stay in the conversation. He’ll look to get back on track against Du Plessis at UFC 273.
Do you think Kelvin Gastelum can bounce back after his recent losing skid?