Kelvin Gastelum next for UFC champ Robert Whittaker? 'Who else would be in line?'

CHICAGO – Is Kelvin Gastelum the obvious next choice to fight UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker? He sure thinks so.

“I haven’t been told I’m next in line, but I mean, who else would be in line?” Gastelum pondered.

Gastelum (15-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) discussed his future on Saturday as a special guest at UFC 225, where reigning champ Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC) edged challenger Yoel Romero (13-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) via split decision in a non-title fight.

Romero is now 0-2 against Whittaker, and though both fights were close, he probably won’t get a third shot – at least not immediately.

“I mean, (Chris Weidman) – maybe?” Gastelum said while pondering any other conceivable options for Whittaker.

Then again, as Gastelum sees it, Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) is 1-3 in his past four fights; the victory, of course, came over Gasteum – via third-round submission. It’s Gastelum’s only loss in his past six fights, which included four wins and a no-contest (Gastelum knocked out Vitor Belfort in 2017, but the victory was overturned after he failed a drug test due to a cannabis metabolite).

“I’m one of the most active middleweights fighting in the the top 10 among middleweights worldwide,” Gastelum said. “I’ve been winning. I mean, I lost one against Weidman, but out of my last six, I’ve won five – not counting the no-contest.”

As Gastelum, who’s No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings, spoke to reporters, UFC 225’s headliner had yet to take place, but Gastelum said he was pulling for Whittaker. The primary reason is that he just wanted some clarity in the division. After Romero missed weight for UFC 225, the fight became a non-title affair. And Gastelum knew a victory for Romero could’ve have thrown chaos into the division and title picture.

But with Whittaker emerging victorious – though with a broken hand that could delay his return – Gastelum has to like his chances. Still, Romero isn’t entirely out of the picture, even with his weight-cutting issues that forced both of his Whittaker bouts to be non-title affairs.

“That’s two title fights he missed weight at already,” Gastelum said. “So, I’m shaking my head a little bit, but at the time, it’s like, I’ve missed weight, you know? So who am I to criticize?”

For more on UFC 225, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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