UFC middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum enjoyed considerable success against reigning 185-pound titleholder Israel Adesanya when they went to war in the UFC 236 co-main event roughly one year back, and believes a few minor adjustments will produce a different outcome the second time around.
Before Gastelum can start planning for another crack at the middleweight crown, he’ll first have to defeat a fellow top contender when he makes his UFC return in July. Perhaps Jack Hermansson is the right fit, as “The Joker” is currently stuck overseas as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m still going to make another run,” Gastelum told MMA Fighting. “I like to be able to fight anybody in the top five. In my opinion, a fight with Jack Hermansson would make sense. We’re both coming off losses. He’s in the top five. A win for either of us would take us where we need to go. We both need to work our way back up the division, back up to Adesanya. I feel that’s the one that makes sense, but you never know what the matchmakers are thinking.”
Gastelum, still just 28 years old, is rehabbing a torn LCL suffered back in January and won’t be ready to make his return until this summer. That’s afforded the former “Ultimate Fighter” an opportunity to reflect on his recent loss to Darren Till, which came in the UFC 244 co-main event last November.
As far as the middleweight rankings (see them here), Gastelum sits one spot behind Hermansson at No. 7. At this point, a win over “The Joker” may not be enough to get him back to the promised land, as both Till (No. 5) and Jared Cannonier (No. 3) are resting comfortably ahead of him.