Kelvin Gastelum wonders why he was passed over for a title shot in favor of Yoel Romero.
Kelvin Gastelum is coming off a huge win over former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, and he figured he was in a very good position in the division going forward. And when current champ Robert Whittaker went down with an illness and was unable to defend the title against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221, the UFC created another interim title for the card. This fight will now pit Rockhold against Yoel Romero – not Gastelum.
Gastelum was asked about it by MMA Junkie while he was in attendance at UFC 220 and, he admitted that he wasn’t a fan of the move:
“It does bother me a little bit that I haven’t even been considered for a shot, but it is what it is, I know this is a process, and I’m just dealing with the process.”
There is one hiccup here though – Gastelum had previously been offered a fight in February by the UFC, and he turned it down because he wouldn’t be ready after enjoying the holidays. He has also stated in the past that it was down to him and Rockhold for the original UFC 221 title shot, and Whittaker “took the easier fight”. So that sort of flies in the face of him saying he wasn’t even considered.
He brushed off the idea of him turning down a fight having something to do with Romero getting booked though:
“What I do think set me back was Robert Whittaker getting hurt and them making that matchup for the interim belt. That sets every middleweight back, because the winner is going to have to fight Whittaker. It’s just going to have to be a process for anyone to get a title shot.”
Gastelum (14-3, 9-3 UFC) wants to return in March or April instead.