Kelvin Gastelum will be taking on the biggest fight of his career when he challenges Robert Whittaker for the UFC middleweight title at UFC 234. And the TUF 17 winner is liking his chances, so far.
“I’m predicting a first-round knockout,” Gastelum said during the UFC 234 media day in the Los Angeles area Tuesday (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I’ve put in so much work and I feel so confident in my abilities and confident in what I’ve done in the sport that I’m predicting a first-round knockout.”
“I know that if I clip them, anybody, I mean anybody in the world, not just Rob, anybody, when I cut my left hand in, he’s going down. But yeah, Rob has a lot of heart.
“I’m expecting a hard-fought fight, but at the same time, I’m so prepared for this opportunity that I’m expecting it not to even be close,” he added.
Since Anderson Silva’s seven-year title reign ended in 2013, the UFC’s middleweight division has not seen a new dominant championship run over the recent years. Gastelum, however, is looking to change that.
“You’ve got guys like Borrachina [Paulo Costa] and you’ve got guys like Style Bender [Israel Adesanya] you’ve got Rob Whittaker who is still go going to be in the mix, he’s not going to go anywhere after the fight, you know what I mean?” he said. “You got Yoel Romero in the mix. The champion of this division has got his work cut out for him in his next few fights and I plan on doing just that, bring a little more legitimacy to the division, you know what I mean?
“For awhile it was GSP, and interim title, and then, so yeah. I want to be able to be the guy who brings legitimacy to the division.”
UFC 234 takes place on February 2nd in Melbourne, Australia. It will co-headlined by another middleweight fight between Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva.