Kelvin Gastelum was originally supposed to fight the legend Anderson Silva in the main even of UFC Shanghai, but Silva’s flagging by USADA took away that opportunity. Luckily, perhaps an even more high profile match-up landed in Gastelum’s lap. Michael Bisping wanted to bounce right back from his loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217, so he offered to step up short notice against the middleweight contender. Gastelum feels like a possible win over Bisping could finally get him close to the gold belt.
“Yes. If I win this fight [with Michael Bisping], it will put me up high in the rankings and hopefully in the conversations to fight for the title. That’s ultimately my goal. I feel like if I win this fight then I might have tarnished those plans and I might’ve just permanently put myself in the position where I’ll be fighting for the middleweight title. If I get to fight for the middleweight title, then that’s ideal but I also feel like if I do the right things and I’m able to make the 170 safely and healthy, then I can do it and I want to fight for that title too.” — Kelvin Gastelum speaking on the UFC Shanghai conference call.
— #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) November 12, 2017
With wins over Johny Hendricks, Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort — even though his TKO victory was overturned due to testing over the threshold for marijuana metabolites — Gastelum has had a pretty good run lately. Certainly, a victory against former UFC middleweight champ Bisping skyrockets Gastelum. However, with well-deserving monsters Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold pacing around while Robert Whittaker clutches his interim title, it’s going to be hard to position into a title shot even with such a giant win over Michael Bisping.
“I don’t see how I could’ve turned this down. I honestly think this is a win-win situation for me. I get to go out there, get back in the win column hopefully, put on a great fight, show what I’m capable of, and I get paid again. It’s all positive from my perspective. Obviously [UFC 217] didn’t go my way. The best way to rectify that is to get straight back on the horse, so to speak, try to get back in the win column. Physically I’m totally fine, 100 percent fine. Mentally, of course, I’m a little pissed off. I want to rectify that and exorcise my demons. Best way to do that: I’m a professional fighter. Get back in the cage and fight again.” — Michael Bisping speaking on the UFC Shanghai conference call.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/18/2017.