Kelvin Gastelum hasn’t totally given up on his aspirations at welterweight.
Despite authoring a pair of dominant victories at 185 pounds — including a first-round stoppage of Vitor Belfort in the UFC Fight Night 106 headliner in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Saturday night — Gastelum believes he still has plenty of potential at 170 pounds. Of course, Gastelum has struggled to make his contracted weight on several occasions, including an incident that led to the cancellation of a proposed welterweight bout with Donald Cerrone at UFC 205.
Those issues were not not present during his cut this past week.
“I felt great this whole week. I ate the whole week. I ate all the way up to weigh ins. I was happy the whole week,” Gastelum said. “I know my capabilities, and I know my chances of winning gold are really good at welterweight.”
That said, “The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner would only return to 170 pounds if he was assured that a title shot would be imminent.
“It would have to be against a No. 1 contender,” Gastelum said. “I believe I’m one of the best welterweights. It would have to be for a No. 1 contender fight.”
For now, Gastelum has a targeted Anderson Silva for his next bout at middleweight. The Yuma, Ariz., native emerged from his fight with Belfort relatively unscathed and would like to face “The Spider” at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro on June 3, a card that is headlined by a featherweight title clash between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway.
“It’s a combination of a lot of things,” Gastelum said of his interest in Silva. “He’s a big name, he’s another legend and he’s ranked above me. I want the fight that will eventually lead me to the title shot.”
However, if another intriguing option is presented, Gastelum isn’t dead set on Silva alone.
“I don’t care who I fight,” he said. “I want the big fights. It’s just Anderson is a guy that I respect a lot and one of the greatest of all time. Those are the kind of fighters that I want to fight.”