UFC middleweight Jack Hermansson believes a win over Kelvin Gastelum holds more value than a win over former champion Chris Weidman.
Hermansson, who last fought in a losing effort to Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC Copenhagen last September, was scheduled to take on Weidman at the start of May in Oklahoma City. Alas, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those plans were scrapped – and instead, Hermansson is now set to go head-to-head with former title challenger Kelvin Gastelum on July 18.
During a recent interview with MMA Junkie, the Swedish-Norwegian middleweight spoke about the change and how he feels about locking horns with one of the division’s most dangerous fighters.
“The fight was never going to happen anyway because of travel issues and visas and stuff,” Hermansson said. “I don’t think Chris was ready to fight on this card. Gastelum wanted to fight me, I wanted to fight him. We asked the UFC if we could make it happen, we could so I think the outcome was even better than I thought so I’m super happy with this fight. I’m looking forward to it.
“Gastelum is a little bit more up-to-date. Weidman has a big name, but it’s a little bit about the rankings as well. I want to move forward and I feel like Gastelum is the right fight to do that.”
Gastelum is also in need of a recovery win after he suffered back-to-back decision defeats against Israel Adesanya and Darren Till, putting a real dent in his title aspirations in the process.
Interestingly, even after Hermansson’s fight against Weidman was called off, Jack confirmed in an interview with MMA Fighting that the plan was still for him to take on the former champion.
“Right now, I’m not sure they will be able to get me a new visa, they are working on it and as soon as things are sorted, and the UFC thinks they can make it happen, so I’m sure they will,” Hermansson said.
“I’m not too sure what day I got the notice (about travel restrictions), but it was not unexpected. I trained hard for the fight, but I knew this could happen, but I’m still training and waiting for a new chance that it will show up.”
How do you think Jack Hermansson will perform against Kelvin Gastelum?