Kelvin Gastelum knocked out former middleweight champion Michael Bisping in half-a-round yesterday at UFC Fight Night 122 in Shanghai and then called out interim titleholder Robert Whittaker for his next fight.
“I heard Robert Whittaker needs a main event over in Australia for February and I’m up the challenge,” Gastelum said at the post-fight press conference. “You guys say I beat up all the elderly, and Robert Whittaker is definitely not an elderly, he’s probably my age, so I’m up for the challenge.
“Anything can happen in the sport of MMA, you know. I feel like Robert Whittaker and I should be next. We’re two young guys who haven’t even hit our prime yet, and I just beat the guy who was the guy so I think I should be next.”
Gastelum is set to get a significant boost up the rankings from his current spot at No.9 following his highlight-reel win in China and he does wield an increasingly impressive resume, having also defeated Johny Hendricks and Tim Kennedy over the past couple of years, as well as TKO’ing Vitor Belfort (though a positive marijuana test would see that amended to a no-contest).
However, there’s still obstacles standing in the way of an interim title fight as the UFC’s ideal plan for Whittaker’s next fight would be a title unification bout with newly crowned champion Georges St-Pierre in February.
There is talk that GSP might not be ready in time though, and if the UFC have their heart set on keeping Whittaker on that card then Gastelum would certainly be an option, though other leading contenders like Chris Weidman (who submitted him earlier in the year) might have something to say about it.