Kelvin Gastelum defeated Vitor Belfort last night late in the first round of their main event fight in Fortaleza, Brazil. Afterwards, in his post-fight interview he called out another legend of the sport.
“There’s a guy really close to me that I know, started a legend’s ass-whooping tour, and I want to finish it,” Gastelum said while talking to Brian Stann. “June third, I wanna go against Anderson, maybe in Rio, who knows?”
Anderson Silva in Rio is the perfect call to make there if you’re both Gastelum and the UFC. Promotionally, you can bring a big name back to Brazil against a young contender on the rise, who has brushed up on his Portugese enough to carry himself dutifully with the Brazilian press. June third, gives Silva almost four full months to prepare since he just fought in early February.
It also keeps Gastelum at 185 lbs., which is an important factor. At only 25 years-old, Gastelum, a perfect candidate for a 175 lb. weight class, is 14-2 and getting close to the start of his prime. If you are the UFC, you want to keep him away from flirting with the welterweight division, where he has missed weight three times. Conversely, Gastelum has never lost at middleweight. He has wins over guys like Uriah Hall, Tim Kennedy, and now Belfort, putting him in the top 10 of a top-heavy middleweight division.
Silva, arguably the best of all time in his prime, is now on the decline at 42 years of age. Despite this, he’s still a big name that will bring eyeballs to TV’s and people to the stadium. Especially in Brazil. He should be relishing the thought of fighting a guy who is relatively undersized for the division.
If you’re Gastelum, you also have an out in the event you lose. You can rationalize that if you can’t beat an old guy at the bottom of the middleweight top ten, how are you possibly going to contend with the likes of Jacare, Romero, Rockhold, Mousasi and Weidman.
If you do win, you stay on message.
“I have to keep winning fights, keep making noise.” Gastelum said at last night’s the post-fight press conference, “I’m not a very loud person I’m not a very obnoxious person, but the way that I want to keep making noise is beating big names.”