Gastelum: Bisping Is A Bigger Fight Than Silva
Kelvin Gastelum lost an opportunity to face one of the biggest names in the UFC, Anderson Silva when the former middleweight champion failed a USADA drug test ahead of UFC Shanghai. Yet, Silva’s latest issues didn’t change the way Gastelum felt about the Brazilian, simply because Silva’s test results didn’t come as much of a surprise.
“It’s not like I dislike Anderson or I like him. I feel indifferent about him,” Gastelum said Wednesday on a UFC Shanghai media conference call.
“To me, it wasn’t surprising that he got caught, and so we’ve got to move on with the show. I feel like he definitely tarnished his legacy with this, and it is what it is. The show must go on.”
Gastelum will still get a major test as he’s has been tapped to fight an unexpected replacement opponent, Michael Bisping, on Nov. 25 at UFC Shanghai.
A Bisping will be making a quick turnaround after losing his middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre in dramatic fashion on November 4th at UFC 217. And with Bisping currently sitting at No. 2 in the UFC’s official media-generated middleweight rankings — six spots higher than Silva — UFC Shanghai may be a bigger fight for Gastelum, and he acknowledges as much..
“I feel like this is a much, much bigger fight than the Anderson Silva fight would’ve been,” Gastelum said.
“Mike is obviously the former champion and he’s highly ranked, and his position in the UFC is very high, so this is a great [chance] for my career. But I feel, advantage-wise, the fight is very equal. He’s coming fresh off a camp, so I imagine he’s in good shape and he’s going to be ready. I don’t think it’s going to be an easy fight”.
“GSP said it himself… That was the hardest fight he’s ever had.”
Gastelum has already been installed as a heavy favorite to defeat Bisping with some odds as high as 3-to-1 for the up and coming fighter.
Gastelum reiterated his desire to move back down to 170 pounds after losing to former middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC on FOX 25. However, a win over a highly ranked middleweight like Bisping may make him have to reconsider the move.
“I might have just permanently put myself in a position where I’ll be fighting for the middleweight title. If I get to fight for the middleweight title, then that’s ideal, but I also feel like if I do the right things, and I’m able to make the 170 (pound limit) safely and healthy, then I can it and I want to fight for that title too.
“I feel like it actually gives me an advantage,” Gastelum added regarding his questionable dual-weight status. “If I want to go back down and challenge Tyron Woodley, then I feel I can. And if I win this fight, it puts me right there in the conversations for the (middleweight) title as well, so I feel it’s a win-win.”
That said, Gastelum isn’t willing to commit to a next step until after he takes care of business against Bisping in China.
“After the fight, that’s when you find out what options you have and what you want to do,” Gastelum said. “So I feel like maybe that question should be asked after the fight.”