An intriguing contest in the middleweight division is set to take place in 2019 when the current champion Robert Whittaker locks horns with Kelvin Gastelum.
Last week, it was announced that the pair will be opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 28. Traditionally, the coaches would compete shortly after the show concludes, although the fight will take place next year to allow Whittaker time to properly heal up from his last fight against Yoel Romero last month.
Gastelum talked to the media recently about the fight with Whittaker and commended the champion for his performance against Romero and believes his own set of skills stacks up nicely to the Aussie’s (via MMAJunkie.com):
“He’s good. He’s got a good heart. He showed in his last fight. He pulled through to get that win and obviously he’s got very good boxing. But I feel like I’m also a good boxer. My skills match up well with his. And people forget that I also have a wrestling background. I’m actually a wrestler that learned how to box. I haven’t really used it in my last few fights because I like standing up, but I’m a wrestler, I’m a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, and I have a lot of confidence I my ground game, as well. So I feel I match up well in all the aspects of MMA with Robert.”
Gastelum is 4-1 with 1 NC in his last six fights with impressive victories over Ronaldo Souza, Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy, with his sole loss coming to Chris Weidman.
However, while the 26 year-old believes his skillset matches up well with Whittaker, the champion believes he’s better than Gastelum in every aspect of mixed martial arts (via MMAjunkie.com)
“He’s a tough athlete. He hits like a truck. He’s fast, he’s young, and he wants it. The thing is, though, personally, I think I’m just better at everything than he is. I look forward to going into this fight, putting my skill set against his and seeing how that comes out.”