After weight issues and a win at UFC Saudi Arabia, what’s next for Kelvin Gastelum?

This past Saturday on the main card at UFC Saudi Arabia, we saw what was supposed to be a welterweight matchup go down at 185. Former title challenger and Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum (19-9) took on Daniel Rodriguez (17-5). As mentioned, this fight was supposed to take place at 170 pounds.

For years, Kelvin Gastelum fought at 185 despite being undersized. A lack of discipline was truly the only reason why he wasn’t fighting at his true weight class which was 170 pounds. Well, last year he decided he really wanted to take things seriously and dedicated himself to making welterweight for another run towards a title.

He lost his welterweight return bout to Sean Brady, but he looked great and made 170 with ease. However, it was a much different story at UFC Saudi Arabia. At media day, Gastelum said he was pretty worried about making weight and Daniel Rodriguez said that the promotion asked him to fight Gastelum at 185. Rodriguez asked for 180 but the UFC said Gastelum couldn’t even make that weight.

Rodriguez reluctantly agreed because he had invested so much into the fight. Gastelum really didn’t show much remorse for the last minute change and got to fight Rodriguez at 185. Throughout the fight, Gastelum used his pressure and wrestling to neutralize Rodriguez. He scored timely takedowns and won a decision. However, it’s a decision not many including Dana White felt great about.

What’s next after UFC Saudi Arabia?

Dana White was visibly frustrated at the post-fight press conference with Kelvin Gastelum. He talked about how they call fighters on just a few days’ notice to be last minute replacements and they can make the weight. Meanwhile Gastelum had a full fight camp and couldn’t even make a 180 pound catchweight. I don’t think the UFC will allow Gastelum to fight again at 170 and I think it’s the right call.

With that in mind, Gastelum is going to go back up to middleweight. So, who should he face next? Honestly, I don’t know what they do in terms of another fight for Gastelum. A couple of options I could see is perhaps a Kevin Holland fight if Holland wants to stay at 185, but I suspect he’ll go back down to 170. Maybe a Chris Weidman rematch makes sense?

I could see the UFC giving Gastelum Joe Pyfer should Pyfer win this upcoming weekend. I honestly don’t know what the promotion will do with him next after this stunt last weekend.

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