Kelvin Gastelum wants to set up a grudge rematch with old enemy Israel Adesanya if he gets by Robert Whittaker on Saturday April 17.
Gastelum (17-6) insists victory in Saturday's short-notice bout against Whittaker should be enough to earn him a mandatory shot at the UFC middleweight champion.
The winner of 'The Ultimate Fighter 17' is bidding for revenge against Adesanya after coming up short on the scorecards against "The Last Stylebender" at UFC 236 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Middleweight contender Gastelum has agreed to step in and fight Whittaker as a short-notice replacement in the five-round main event of UFC Fight Night 188 after Whittaker's original opponent, Paulo Costa, withdrew from their fight due to illness.
With the middleweight division in a state of flux, the American believes he should be rewarded for putting it all on the line this Saturday night live at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
"I think the winner of this fight gets the ‘Izzy’ rematch," Gastelum said to MMA Junkie.
Almost two years to the day since he took on Adesanya, Gastelum is expecting another tough encounter against former UFC middleweight champion Whittaker. However, it's a contest he is approaching with huge confidence.
"Two guys that are entering their prime," he added. "Where he’s highly skilled, I believe I have the skills to match it or be even better, so the fight fans are in for a nice, nice fight you know, and that’s why I’ve always liked this fight, is just because I think the styles mesh up really well, and it’s going to be a really exciting fight."
Victory over Whittaker would arguably be Gastelum's biggest of his career, and if he gets the job done this weekend, he feels victory should catapult him to the front of the queue of those lining up to face his arch nemesis, including his teammate Marvin Vettori.
"I get the win, I get my hand raised, and I get the chance to fight for the title next," he concluded.News Now - Sport News