It was like magic. Georges St-Pierre left the middleweight division and a tidal wave of movement happened with no one having to fight each other. Luke Rockhold got a middleweight title shot — not an interim bout, but for the undisputed title — against Robert Whittaker and contenders all got bumped up a notch. Not everyone can be happy though, Kelvin Gastelum thought he deserved the shot after knocking out Michael Bisping and made sure everyone knew it. Rockhold shrugged his opinion off and promised if he kept it up, he can get smacked down in good time.
“Given how ridiculous things are, I mean, yeah, of course there’s the [thoughts of] are they really gonna take that step [and give Kelvin Gastelum the fight], are they really gonna keep falling further within that realm? But everybody obviously, people came to me and made polls or whatever and I know I was at the top of every list. I know I’ve proven myself, I’ve accomplished things in this sport, whereas little midgets like Kelvin Gastelum haven’t. I’ve destroyed Chris Weidman, which he got destroyed by Weidman, so it’s like ehh. This kid hasn’t beaten really anybody and done anything in this sport, and for him to run his mouth, it’s pretty funny. It’s laughable. He’ll find out for real if he continues his efforts at 185. I’d slap that kid down real quick. Real quick.”
Down under we go to get the gold. pic.twitter.com/7T1798h99W
— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) December 8, 2017
“I wanna fight Whittaker, I want to fight the best. It would’ve been – I’m a realist, and I know that neither one of those guys, win or lose, would fight any of us. They’re both gonna try and run off, ride off into the sunset and not fight the fight. I respect Whittaker for stepping up and fighting me. I know he had options to take a lesser opponent, the fans wanted this and this is what it is. He’s a true champion, he’s gonna fight the number one contenders. […] No doubt. It’s about time [to have some clarity in the division]. It’s been a rough ride but we’ve finally navigated our way through the mess and you got the best two guys duking it out for the world title.” — Luke Rockhold speaking to Submission Radio.
These comments come after Gastelum said Whittaker was taking the ‘easy way out’ in fighting Luke Rockhold. Either way, the decision was made and Rockhold has a chance at redemption to reset the division to where it once was before his miscalculation against Michael Bisping. After this fight pans out, win or lose, there will always be time to settle a rivalry between Rockhold and Gastelum. A fight that will mean even more if it is for the UFC middleweight title.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/13/2017.