Gastelum is booked to fight Donald Cerrone at UFC 205, which will go down on November 12th in New York City. The bout comes after Gastelum decisioned former champion Johny Hendricks in July.
Recently the TUF 17 winner spoke with UFC.com, and while discussing his hopes to secure a title shot, Gastelum stated:
“This fight, for me, I have to make a statement because I feel like now is the time where I start to define myself as a contender,” he said. “I’m never gonna be younger than now. I’m young, I’m quick and I’m only getting better, so I need to prove to myself that I can beat the elite guys in order for me to know that I can be champion.”
“This is the perfect scenario,” Gastelum relayed. “I go in there and I make a statement and I win, and they go fight for the title, and they’ll put two and two together hopefully and say, ‘That guy can fight next for the title.’ And absolutely, I will take it.”
There you go. Now could Gastelum move into title contention if he takes out Cerrone? Of course. But it’s pretty unlikely that he would leap frog Demian Maia, who is ranked #3 and has won six straight. In addition, Gastelum lost to Neil Magny via split decision last year, who Maia submitted during his most recent run.
Plus, former champ Robbie Lawler recently reported that he’s looking for his next bout, and he’s currently ranked #1.
Welterweight champ Tyron Woodley, who KO’d Lawler in July, will fight Stephen Thompson at UFC 205.