Gastelum awaits “fun” fight with champ Whittaker, believes he can knock him out


UFC middleweight title challenger Kelvin Gastelum awaits a stand-up war with titleholder Robert Whittaker.

UFC 234 co-headliner Kelvin Gastelum had his eyes set on facing reigning UFC champ Robert Whittaker. That is even when the latter became a champ.

During the UFC 234 media luncheon in Los Angeles, Gastelum told the press how he liked the possibility of facing Whittaker in the past. According to him, the Australian’s shares some similarities in their fighting styles. This interests him and believes that they would bring an intriguing match-up.

“I’ve been watching Rob for a long time now even before he was champion.” He said, “I was like ‘this is gonna be a fun fight for me’. And I feel like it’s a fight that I can win so I still feel the same way.”

“I feel like Rob’s not one of those guys that kind looks for the takedowns, you know? He’s not one of those guys that does and neither am I although I do have wrestling abilities, I do have abilities on the ground. We’re not two guys that look for the takedown. We’re gonna look to box, we’re gonna look to exchange, we’re gonna look to knock each other out so I’m predicting a first-round knockout but you’ll never know.”

Now gets the chance to do so with the belt on the line this February 10. The 27-year old earned the spot thanks to his successful run back at 185-pounds. Going 4-1 in his last four bouts (including the Vitor Belfort bout where it turned to a no contest), Gastelum earned his spot with back-to-back wins over Michael Bisping and most recently, with Jacare in his backyard.

And as he takes on his biggest fight to date, Gastelum looks back to what he went through with appreciation. He said the experience prepared him for this stage. For him, this will come handy when he fights in enemy soil once again.

“Definitely. I mean, I’ve been fighting in the UFC for seven years and there’s no other way to be successful than to learn and to grow and to expand your mind to really just grow and embrace this life. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t be fighting for the title. I would’ve been down and out.”

“I’ve been in this position before where I’m not the hometown guy. I go out and fought Jacare in Brazil in Rio. Fought Weidman literally in his backyard in Long Island, fought in Fortaleza against Vitor, this is not the first time I’m in this kind of position and the biggest thing that I take away from it is that I can thrive in these kinds of environments… I don’t mind being in this kind of pressure.”

Gastelum sees a highly-competitive affair with the champion once they finally go at it. With that, he is ready for everything that “The Reaper” would throw at him. But if thing would go his way, he knows that it could end at any moment.


“It’s exciting but at the same time, you can’t count out on just that. It’s exciting knowing that he’s gonna exchange and hopefully, it’s an exciting fight,” he said.

“I know that if I clip them, anybody, I mean anybody in the world. It’s not just Rob, anybody, when I cut my left hand in, he’s going down,” Gastelum said. “But yeah, Rob has a lot of heart. I’m expecting a hard-fought fight, but at the same time, I’m so prepared for this opportunity that I’m expecting it not to even be close.”

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