After drastically missing weight for his fight with Donald Cerrone at UFC 205 this past November, former welterweight Kelvin Gastelum was forced to move up to middleweight and challenge Tim Kennedy at UFC 206. Gastelum had missed weight before, prompting Dana White to promise the former TUF winner will never compete at 170 pounds again. Still, Gastelum remains confident that he can not only return to welterweight in 2017, but also moonlight as a middleweight.
"I don't see why I can't be competing in both weight classes," said Gastelum during a recent interview with Bloody Elbow. "I felt great at 185. I feel I can excel at this weight, and I feel I beat the top guys at this weight. I remember a few years back, I wasn't very confident in my abilities. But now, a few years have passed, and I'm pretty confident in my abilities, confident in my skills to know that I can compete with the best middleweights and also the best welterweights."
Gastelum ultimately destroyed Kennedy back at UFC 206, welcoming the Army veteran back to the Octagon with a third-round TKO. Currently scheduled to take on Brazilian legend Vitor Belfort at UFC Fight Night 107 on Mar. 11, Gastelum has a real chance to make a title run at 185 pounds.
"They've granted me my wish and they got me a fight I'm interested in — a main event fight in Brazil against a legend like Vitor," added the 25-year-old. "I can't say no to that."
If UFC reopens discussions and ultimately allows Gastelum to compete at welterweight and middleweight, he has the potential to wreak havoc in two separate, yet equally dangerous, weight classes. He would have a real good chance at following in the footsteps of Cerrone, but the end goal in each division remains the same.
"I think it'll open up my horizons even more," said Gastelum. "Whatever fight gets me to the title fight faster is the fight that I'll take."