Kelvin Gastelum was pulled from his scheduled bout against Anderson Silva — which was set to go down on June 3, 2017 at UFC 212 — after he was notified of a failed drug test for marijuana metabolites.
After serving a 90-day suspension, Kelvin returned to face Chris Weidman at UFC on FOX 25, losing to “All American” via third-round submission (full video replay). Now, Kelvin will get the chance to get it on against “The Spider” after the duo was booked to tango in the main event of UFC Shanghai, which his set to go down on November 25 in Shanghai, China.
It’s a welcome challenge for Kelvin, though a very surprising one, as well.
"I'm honestly very surprised [Silva signed] the contract again because he was very public about saying how he wasn't going to fight anyone coming off a loss or accept anything less than a super fight with a very popular fighter," Gastelum said in an interview with Flo Combat.
Gastelum is especially looking forward to the fight with Silva due to the fact that the former Middleweight champion of the world prefers to let the action play out on the feet, with minimal risk of getting taken down.
And after getting taken down at will by Weidman in his previous fight, a stand-up war is something that excites the former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner. Still, Kelvin learned from his last loss, and is now more motivated and more fired up to show the combat sports world a new and improved fighter.
"I think this is a great matchup for me. I have power in my hands, and Silva isn't going to have the wrestling abilities Chris Weidman had. I don't think he'll want to wrestle with me at all, or maybe he will. I don't know, but I do know he lacks the wrestling pedigree to actually compete with me there. I believe he'll want to keep the fight standing, and that gets me excited,” he added.
"I'm completely motivated and fired up after how my last fight played out. I was upset and disappointed for a few weeks after that fight, but then this fire started to grow inside of me,” he added. “I've never wanted to win more than I do right now. I've never felt I've needed to prove myself more than I do going into this fight with Anderson,” proclaimed Kelvin.
"I'm coming out with fire in my fists and in my heart. Something has changed inside of me because of that last fight, and I'm going to show the world what I'm made of,” he concluded.
As for Silva, he returned to the win column earlier this year by taking home a unanimous decision win over Derek Brunson (see it), earning his first win in four years. Now, he’ll look to collect back-to-back wins, something the former pound-for-pound great hasn’t accomplished since 2012.