Jack Hermansson feels he’s in a better situation now fighting Kelvin Gastelum on July 18 as opposed to former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
“They came with the Gastleum offer … and it was me asking for it,” Hermansson told MMANews. “The UFC was up for it and I was super happy with that. It’s actaully my preferred fight, it turned out for something better this time.”
Hermansson (20-5) was initially slated to headline UFC Oklahoma City against Weidman on May 2 before COVID-19 canceled the event. Rather than rebooking the matchup, Weidman is now set to face Omari Akhmedov at UFC Fight Night on Aug. 8. Despite Weidman’s notoriety, the Kings MMA product is more of an enticing opponent because of his place in the 185-pound rankings.
“It’s about the rankings and I feel like we are ranked next to each other,” Hermansson explained. “And people are probably having his (Israel Adesanya fight) pretty fresh in their minds as well. Maybe the guy that gave Adesanya his toughest fight so far. I don’t want to say that Weidman is a has-been, but he’s a little bit more old school. He’s had his run and I feel Gastelum is a little bit more up to date to the fans. I feel like that’s the fight I want to have.”
Gastleum (20-5) is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, most recently losing a decision to Darren Till at UFC 244 in November. “The Joker” feels like he’s catching ‘The Ultimate Fighter 17’ winner at the right time.
“I feel like he’s very good with his boxing. He has good hands and he has a wrestling background as well. I think most people would see me as the favorite on the ground. So I feel like that’s where I have my biggest advantage but we’ve been working a lot on my standup game through this whole COVID situation so I feel like that’s where I’ve improved the most”
Hermansson added. “It’s gonna be an exciting fight. You know, we’re going to be in those, you know, stand up clean screen game, everything. And I’m going to do my best to confuse Kelvin and find an opening for that finish.”
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