Kelvin Gastelum asked, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship delivered.
The Las Vegas-based promotion announced Tuesday that Gastelum will face former middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro on June 3. “The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner requested a pairing with “The Spider” shortly after his first-round technical knockout victory over Vitor Belfort at UFC Fight Night 106 this past Saturday.
“I want the big fights,” Gastelum said at the post-fight press conference. “It’s just that Anderson is a guy that I respect a lot and one of the greatest of all time. Those are the kinds of fighters that I want to fight.”
Gastelum, who also stated that he wouldn’t be opposed to taking a No. 1 contender bout at 170 pounds, has won his last three fights, besting Belfort and Tim Kennedy at middleweight and Johny Hendricks at 170 pounds.
Silva ended a five-fight winless streak in his most recent appearance, as he took a somewhat contentious unanimous verdict over Derek Brunson at UFC 208 on Feb. 11. The 41-year-old is ranked No. 7 — three spots above Gastelum — in the UFC.com middleweight rankings.
UFC 212 takes place at HSBC Arena and is headlined by a featherweight championship clash between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway.