Kelvin Gastelum could be closing in on a middleweight title shot if he wins at UFC 224, but he still has hopes to return to his old stomping grounds at welterweight.
Long considered one of the best prospects at 170 pounds after winning “The Ultimate Fighter,” Gastelum struggled mightily with his weight cuts that eventually led to his move up to middleweight.
Just a week away from his showdown with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC 224, Gastelum says returning to welterweight is something that still lingers in the back of his head and probably always will.
“My eyes in the back of my head, way in the back, I still have welterweight in mind,” Gastelum said this week in Los Angeles.
Perhaps the biggest motivating factor for Gastelum was his 2015 fight against future welterweight champion Tyron Woodley that ended in a split-decision loss.
Gastelum came into that fight a whopping 10 pounds overweight, but Woodley still accepted the match-up and what resulted was a back-and-forth battle over three rounds.
Considering Woodley is now the reigning and defending champion at welterweight, Gastelum would not only like to avenge that loss, but he knows deep down that he went with the best of the best at 170 pounds and could have come away with a victory.
“That fight has a splinter in me. It’s like a splinter in my heart,” Gastelum said about the fight with Woodley. “I kind of want to get that fight back, make the weight, make it right.
“In a lot of people’s eyes, including myself, I won that fight.”
First things first, Gastelum will try to get through Jacare next weekend and if all goes well, he might be competing for a title at 185 pounds in the very near future.