Kelvin Gastelum won the UFC middleweight title shot sweepstakes. He’s also getting a coaching slot on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Gastelum and middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will serve as the coaches on the 28th season of the UFC’s flagship reality series, the company announced Friday night. The duo will then square off for Whittaker’s title at a date and location to be determined.
Both fighters have won versions of the show, as Whittaker won TUF: The Smashes in 2012. Whittaker (20-4) has won nine consecutive bouts, including a victory over Yoel Romero at UFC 213 that was for a UFC interim middleweight belt. He was promoted to undisputed champion late last year, when Georges St-Pierre vacated the belt after defeating Michael Bisping at UFC 217. The New Zealand native’s most recent victory was a unanimous decision over Romero in a rematch at UFC 225.
Gastelum, meanwhile, was the champion of TUF 17 in 2013, winning what at the time was considered an upset of Uriah Hall in the final. Gastelum competed at welterweight, and while he had success in that division, he had trouble making the 170-pound limit.
Since going up to 185, Gastelum is 4-1 with 1 no-contest. His past two bouts are wins over Bisping and former Strikeforce champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. His only loss in that span was to former champ Chris Weidman, but that was Weidman’s only win in his past four fights, thus Gastelum got the nod.
While the future of TUF beyond 2018 is an open question, it will for sure be the final season of the show on FOX Sports 1, as the UFC’s television contract turns to ESPN in 2018.