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Despite past troubles with Brazilian commission, Kelvin Gastelum eyes Jacare Souza in title eliminator at UFC 224

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UFC Fight Night: Open Workouts Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Kelvin Gastelum wasn’t too pleased when he found out that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) had booked an interim middleweight title fight between Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero to headline UFC 221 — which went down last weekend — leaving him out in the cold.

Now, the former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner wants to know his next fight gets him a golden ticket to the big dance, and he doesn’t care what top contender he has to face to get there.

Or in what division.

“Just the fight that will get me to the title shot,” Gastelum told ESPN’s Five Rounds podcast (via ESPN). “That’s the fight I want. I know I probably won’t get a title shot next, but I want to fight the No. 1 contender” he added.

Having competed at 170-pounds to start of his career, Gastelum had some past troubles hitting his mark, which prompted a move up to middleweight at the request of Dana White. Still, Kelvin never ruled out a drop down, and he is open to doing it for his next fight if it gets him closer to his goal.

”If it’s at welterweight, I will make the cut. The cut is dreadful and the diet is extreme, but if it’s worth it, I will do it,” he added.

Still, 185 pounds is where he is at, winning three of four overall since 2016. And if it were up to him he’d take on someone like Ronalda Souza, a top contender who would surely get him where he needs to go should he prove victorious.

He also isn’t opposed to facing “Jacare” on his own turf when the promotion invades Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 12, 2018 with UFC 224. This, despite the fact that he hasn’t had the best of luck with the Brazilian athletic commission.

“I would love to fight in Rio, and obviously a fight with Jacare would propel me to where I want to go,” Gastelum said. “I’m scared of that commission. I don’t know what to think of the commission.

After his win over Vitor Belfort in Brazil last year, Gastelum was notified of a failed drug test due to marijuana metabolites and his win was overturned to a no-contest and some of his winnings were withheld.

”I should probably talk to someone in the commission or [UFC vice president of regulatory affairs] Marc Ratner. Hopefully, he’d keep me safe and nothing happens to my [drug] samples. I just don’t know what to think of the commission over there,” concluded Gastelum.

Of course, even if he does get a “No. 1 contenders fight” next, he will likely encounter more hurdles on his way to a middleweight title fight, as Chris Weidman — the only man to defeat Kelvin at 185-pounds — is on the hunt for his own shot at reclaiming the gold.

And here we thought this was going to clear up the middleweight title picture.