The early bird caught a big worm this morning (Sat., Nov. 25, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 122 live on Fight Pass from inside Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai, China, as rising contender Kelvin Gastelum scored a huge knockout win over former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping.
The scintillating first-round finish is easily the biggest victory of Gastelum’s young career, but the 26-year-old already has to defend the fact that Bisping is one of the more older and seasoned fighters in the division.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Gastelum during the post-fight press conference (full replay here) when asked if he finished Bisping because of his age. “He was the middleweight champion three weeks ago.”
Gastelum needed this win in a big way. After getting choked out by former UFC middleweight kingpin Chris Weidman this past July, many believed that Gastelum may try to move back down to welterweight. But following a first-round knockout finish over a legendary fighter like Bisping, Gastelum is already taking aim at the top of the middleweight division.
“I heard Robert Whittaker needs a main event opponent over in Australia for February and I’m up for the challenge,” said Gastelum. “You guys say I beat up all the elderly and Robert Whittaker definitely isn’t an elderly. He’s probably my age. So I’m up for that challenge.”
Remember, Whittaker captured the interim UFC middleweight title back in July with a unanimous decision win over Yoel Romero. While Georges St-Pierre would have the first crack at unifying his title with Whittaker after winning the belt at UFC 217 over Bisping, GSP is not guaranteed to stick around at 185 pounds. If that’s the case, Gastelum is more than willing to step up and fight Whittaker at UFC 221 on Feb. 11 in Perth, Australia.
“I feel like Robert Whittaker and I should be next,” explained Gastelum. “We’re two young guys and haven’t even hit our primes. I just beat the guy who was the guy so I should be next.”
While it’s unlikely that UFC will grant Gastelum a title shot over other noteworthy contenders like Weidman and Luke Rockhold, you never really know. Gastelum continues to prove his worth at 185 pounds and just joined Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort as the only fighters to finish Bisping via strikes.
For complete UFC Fight Night 122 results and coverage click here.