Despite his call-out earlier this month, Kelvin Gastelum didn’t expect to actually be booked against former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Kelvin Gastelum made it clear he wanted to fight Anderson Silva after his latest win, but in reality, he didn’t expect his wish to be granted.
Gastelum called Silva out after his vicious, first-round knockout win over another mixed martial arts legend, Vitor Belfort, in the main event of UFC Fight Night 106 earlier this month in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Just days removed from the biggest win of his career, Gastelum signed the dotted line to face the former middleweight champion and the bout was announced for UFC 212 this summer.
That’s something the 25-year-old did not see coming at all.
“I thought it was going to be a problem,” Gastelum told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour (transcription via MMAWeekly.com). “I didn’t think he was going to sign it. The next thing I know is he’s posting this video of him signing it.
“All respect to him. I didn’t think he was actually going to go on and take the fight. I’m just very thankful for the opportunity to be able to fight him. He’s the greatest of all time and deserves all the respect in the world. But once that cage door closes, I expect the same results that I had with Vitor.”
The Belfort fight was a bout Gastelum particularly wanted, as he called the Brazilian out after his UFC 206 win over Tim Kennedy last December, but fighting “The Spider” tops it, according to Gastelum.
“It’s kind of a big deal,” he said. “I thought the Vitor Belfort fight was big. This is a whole another level,” he said. “I’m fighting the greatest of all time. It’s like fighting Mike Tyson. It’s insane.”
UFC 212 takes place live from Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 3. In the main event, featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo faces interim champ Max Holloway in a title unification bout.