But, to his surprise, Gastelum was met with criticism at the post-fight press conference after it was implied that he only beats up older fighters.
“I heard Robert Whittaker needs a main event opponent over in Australia for February, and I’m up for the challenge,” Gastelum told the media in Shanghai. “You guys say I beat up all the elderly, and Robert Whittaker is definitely not elderly. He’s probably my age, so I’m up for the challenge.
Gastelum’s opponent at UFC Fight Night 122, Bisping, is 38-years-old and has been competing under the UFC banner for over eleven years. Despite nearing the end of his career, Bisping captured the 185-pound title in 2016, knocking out Luke Rockhold in the first round, but was choked unconscious by Georges St-Pierre earlier this month at UFC 217.
Gastelum, who has beat the likes of Uriah Hall, Johny Hendricks, and Tim Kennedy, was originally scheduled to face Anderson Silva at UFC Shanghai but Bisping stepped in as a late-replacement when it was revealed that ‘The Spider’ had failed an out-of-competition drug test administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Although Gastelum is hoping to fight Whittaker at UFC 221, ‘The Reaper’ has made it clear that he wants to unify the titles against newly-crowned middleweight champ St-Pierre. It’s unclear, however, as to whether GSP will return to defend his belt.
Gastelum is currently ranked in the top ten UFC middleweight rankings and will likely surge to the top five with his win over Bisping.