With Darren Till yet to arrive for UFC 244, Kelvin Gastelum discussed his feelings toward his opponent’s absence, and isn’t keen on a late switch of fighters.
NEW YORK— With Darren Till’s visa issues delaying his arrival to New York City, as first reported by @TalkMMA, Kelvin Gastelum isn’t concerned.
But that doesn’t mean he’s willing to switch opponents last minute if necessary either.
An initial report by Terez Owens has revealed that the UFC has enlisted Jared Cannonier to be on standby as a potential replacement for Till.
Gastelum couldn’t identify any benefits in a prospective short notice bout.
“[Till] is the guy that we have been preparing to fight,” said Gastelum, during his media availability following the open workouts. “I feel like for me to fight Jared Cannonier is just not fair to me. I can’t take a fight like that on two days notice.”
“Of course I’ll fight anyone but give me time to prepare for that person,” he added.
Assuming the fight does take place as UFC 244’s co-main event Saturday, the middleweight bout could impact the division’s impending title picture.
UFC President Dana White announced Tuesday to The Schmo that number two ranked middleweight Paulo Costa will be sidelined eight months after having surgery on his left bicep in September.
The 28-year-old is “pretty positive” that with a win over Till, a title shot would be “inevitable.”
Gastelum and the current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya fought back in April at UFC 236 for the interim middleweight belt in what many have already cemented as the fight of the year.
The fourth ranked middleweight fell short in an unanimous decision to Adesanya and believes with full health that result could change.
“I said it before ‘fighters don’t go into fights healthy’ and I was not the exception that night,” said the Yuma, AZ native. “I feel like if I could do what I did that night in those conditions, at 100 percent, then I can do much better next time.”
Gastelum was not willing to divulge what ailed him that night in Atlanta. “It’s irrelevant.”
Assuming the fight with the Till does take place, Gastelum knows what’s at stake and was willing to assess the state of both their careers.
“I feel like we’re both in a rebuilding phase,” said Gastelum. “I feel like I’ve done my part to rebuild myself to this point and we’ll see if he rebuilt himself to get to this point.”
“I’m very confident in my hands and my abilities so a knockout could happen,” he suggested, “but I’m ready for a 15-minute war you guys know that.”
Gastelum goes on to describe what its like to fight for and represent Mexico, dealing with USADA, and more. Watch the full UFC 244 open workout press scrum with Kelvin Gastelum above!