Interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum released a statement on Sunday in which he vowed to continue after a loss to former champion Robert Whittaker in the main event of UFC Vegas 24.
Gastelum was swept off the scorecards, losing every round to Whittaker for a 50-45 unanimous result. But he was optimistic about his future, writing on Twitter: “I still believe I can do the job and be one of the best!”
In fact, Gastelum is considered one of the best in the UFC at 185 pounds and is currently ranked No.8 in the promotion rankings. The Ultimate Fighter 17 the winner however fell short in the face of top competition including Israel Adesanya, who beat him in a back-and-forth which won ‘fight of the year’ honors but ultimately led Adesanya to win the interim belt he then unified beat Whittaker.
Gastelum was due to face Whittaker at the end of their time as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 28 Whittaker was still holding the belt. But a last second illness forced Whittaker to retire, and the Australian champion was later knocked out by Adesanya.
Gastelum is 1-4 in his last five outings with a decision over Ian Heinisch added to losses against Adesanya, Darren Till, Jack Hermansson and most recently Whittaker.
As with Adesanya’s fight, Gastelum took a significant amount of damage in his fight against Whittaker, absorbing 150 strikes over five rounds. He also gave up four teardowns.
Whittaker has called for a rematch with Adesanya in September or October, although he said a post-fight medical exam will determine his timeline.