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Kelvin Gastelum: I’ll need to KO Jacare Souza in the first round to get a title shot

For UFC middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum, securing a victory in convincing fashion is the only way he gets the title shot.

Number-five ranked UFC middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum may have scored the biggest victory of his career when he knocked out Michael Bisping in the first round of their fight in Shanghai, China last November. For his next task, he will be facing the dangerous Ronaldo Souza in the co-main event of the upcoming UFC 224 card.

While he may be situated at the top-five of the rankings, Gastelum is not expecting to be handed a title shot by simply getting past the number two-ranked “Jacare.” For him, the victory should be in the most decisive fashion.

“I feel like I need to beat him and make a statement,” Gastelum told MMAjunkie in a pre-fight interview. “If I don’t make a statement, I don’t think I’ll be able to contend for the title next. But if I go in there and knock him out in the first round, then I have no doubt that the next fight will be for the title.”

For the 26-year-old TUF 17 alum, being a world champion would transcend way beyond his fighting career, as he sees as more of a way of life.

“It means more than being a UFC champion – it means being a champion in life,” Gastelum said. “I’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles in life … it would mean much more than just a UFC championship. That no matter where we come from, we can achieve whatever we want.”

UFC 224 takes place this Saturday, May 12th, at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.