Kelvin Gastelum isn’t giving up the dream at 170 pounds.
Even after garnering an impressive third-round technical knockout victory against the notoriously sturdy Tim Kennedy at 185 pounds at UFC 206, Gastelum still has his sights set on title contention at welterweight.
“He's [Kennedy] very durable and I knew I was in for a dogfight,” Gastelum said. “But I was confident in my preparation and I was confident in my ability. If they give me a fight at middleweight that I want, I will stay at 185. If no fight interests me, I will drop to 170 and fight a No. 1 contender. I want a No. 1 contender and believe I deserve a No. 1 contender.”
Gastelum was badly overweight and failed to even attend weigh-ins prior to a proposed welterweight clash against Donald Cerrone at UFC 205. While Gastelum avoided a six-month suspension by paying a $2,000 fine to the New York State Athletic Commission, the last minute cancellation led UFC President Dana White to declare that Gastelum would never fight at 170 pounds in the Octagon again. It was the third time he had missed weight at 170 pounds in the UFC.
“The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner’s performance on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto seemed to only strengthen White’s case that Gastelum should remain at 185 pounds. After struggling with Kennedy’s grappling in round one, Gastelum picked his opponent apart with punching combinations in round two and three en route to a stoppage 2:45 into the final stanza. Still, the Arizona native plans on pleading his case for one more chance at welterweight.
“I felt great coming into this fight. I didn’t cut any weight. It’s my fault I get too much overweight outside of camp,” Gastelum said. “That’s something that’s gonna change from here on out. I want to make things right. I want to get back in the good graces of Dana and the UFC.
“That’s what I’m trying to say [is I want to go back to welterweight]. I will show up at Dana’s doorstep at 170 pounds if I have to.”