These days, Gastelum is training when he can as he recovers from an LCL tear in January, and as the UFC prepares to return to action in May, he begins to have itching to make its first start since a decision shared by Darren Till last November.
“After the fight in Adesanya, I felt like I had something to prove, so I jumped into another fight and a very good fight against Darren Till,” he said. “All the credit for it, he did a really good job that night, but I didn’t really feel like myself that night, and I’m pretty sure everyone saw it too. So as soon as things are operational, I throw my name in the hat, that’s for sure. I want to be able to fight in July, so I hope everything is back to normal; otherwise, we will fight in an empty arena or something like that. But it’s in July that I want to come back. “
Full house or not, Gastelum took advantage of the free time to not only rehabilitate his knee, but to let his body rest after two grueling battles in 2019. And although he did not get the results he wanted, he remains one of the ten best candidates for the 185 pounds and a legitimate title threat. As such, he does not seek any developmental fights upon his return. His eyes are riveted on the belt and he wants to fight anyone who can help shorten his journey to a title match.
“I have to go back, and someone in the top five must certainly agree to fight with me,” he said. “I have to keep taking steps forward, so the opponent must be right, the date must be correct, and we will resume the path. I am only 28 years old; I haven’t even reached my physical peak yet. I feel like I have a lot more room for growth and I always feel like a beginner. I’m excited because we put all of these experiences together – the good, the bad, the championship defeat, everything. I’m a little smarter, a little more mature, a little more experienced, and we’re going to do another race. “