UFC 258: Kelvin Gastelum Willing to Step Up If Costa or Whittaker Drop Out

Las Vegas, NV — Welcome back to the win column, Kelvin Gastelum.

Prior to Saturday, The Ultimate Fighter winner and former title contender had not won a fight since his Fight of the Year classic against Israel Adesanya in April 2019. Three straight losses had the 29-year old’s back against the wall heading into UFC 258. But Gastelum acquitted himself nicely, fighting like a man who knew his job was on the line against Contender Series alum Ian Heinisch.

Gastelum (16-6, 1NC) earned the victory via unanimous decision.

“I thought it was decent, I did enough to get the win,” Gastelum appraised his performance following the fight, “but I don’t think it was anything special.”

Speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press, Gastelum didn’t want to get too far into his mindset prior to the fight. But it’s clear he knew what the stakes were, entering UFC 258 on a three-fight skid.

“I don’t even want to think about it, because the tears would come dropping,” admitted Gastelum. “I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to get too deep into it. I’m just thankful that I got the win, I got my hand raised. Thankful for my team, I’m thankful for everybody who’s helped me get to this point.”

A lot of what comes next for Kelvin Gastelum will depend on how the middleweight division plays out over the next several bouts. There are a number of key match-ups booked: Marvin Vettori vs. Darren Till, and Paulo Costa vs. Robert Whittaker. Of course, 185lb champ Israel Adesanya, a man Gastelum knows very, very well, is lined up to take a shot at light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz next month.

“We’ll have to see what he prefers to do. Is he going to defend both belts, or is he going to stay up there?” Gastelum said of Adesanya’s move up a division. “But that will come later for sure.” In the meantime, the middleweight doesn’t have any names in mind. Except one option Gastelum did mention to the UFC. “If somebody steps out in the Robert Whittaker-Paulo Costa fight, then I’d be willing to step up if something happens to one of those fighters.”

Gastelum and Whittaker were supposed to meet back in 2019, he noted, “so I’d like to get that back.” The Whittaker-Costa bout is expected in April.

Watch the full UFC 258 post-fight press conference with Kelvin Gastelum above.