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Kelvin Gastelum ‘thinking about getting the 170 belt’ despite 185 success

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Kelvin Gastelum EL MMAF
Kelvin Gastelum

It seems the entire mixed martial arts world wants Kelvin Gastelum to stay at 185 pounds.

Except for Gastelum himself.

The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner has been a monster since his embarking on his most recent middleweight stint, earning back-to-back finishes of Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort. A high-profile matchup with the legendary Anderson Silva awaits next.

Contrast that to welterweight, where he missed weight three times in the span of two years, then was pulled from a UFC 205 bout with Donald Cerrone over a weight cut gone awry.

Still, even though the sky appears to be the limit at 185, Gastelum isn’t letting go of his dream of competing at 170. On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Gastelum said his goal is to win titles at both welterweight and middleweight.

“I’m thinking about getting the 170 belt,” Gastelum said. “But, I’m thinking about getting the 170 belt, but if I have to get the 185 belt before, so be it.”

As far as Gastelum is concerned, it’s a practical matter. He’s won four out of his past five fights, including victories over former UFC champs Belfort and Johny Hendricks and former Strikeforce champ Nate Marquardt.

Given that the middleweight picture is tied up with champion Michael Bisping fighting Georges St-Pierre on a date to be determined, Gastelum simply wants to keep all his options open.

“We’ll see after this fight,” Gastelum said. “I dunno. Hopefully I’ll be in a position when I win this fight I can lay out a few options and see what they are and go from there. Next step would be title shot at ’85, but realistically that might not happen.”

He says he has plenty of respect for St-Pierre, but doesn’t agree with the call to give him a middelweight shot ahead of top contender Yoel Romero.

“While people were saying Anderson was the greatest of all-time, I was saying GSP was the greatest of all-time. He’s my favorite fighter and he’s viable. I don’t agree with him skipping Romero when he clearly deserves it.”

Gastelum has been criticized for fighting aging legends like Belfort and Silva over fighters in their primes, but he points out that between injuries and previously made matchups, it’s not like he’s had a ton of say in the matter.

“I’m calling out the greatest of all-time. Who does that?” Gastelum said of his June 3 fight with Silva in Brazil. “The bigger name. There’s a bunch of killers right now. Everyone in the division is older than me except Robert Whittaker and he has a fight. Everyone is injured, Rockhold, he’s injured, Weidman, Mousasi are fighting. Jacare and Whittaker are fighting. I see a lot of people mad about that.”

Gastelum believes a win over Silva vaults him into position for a title shot, whether it is at 170 or 185. Of course, there’s the not-so-small matter of his weight misses at welterweight. But Gastelum, insists that his weight-missing days are in the rear-view mirror.

“I just know that I can make it. I just had to figure out a healthy way to make it. Instead of cutting it all, I had to figure out how to make my body work and how to do it right. For sure.”