MELBOURNE – Kelvin Gastelum seems to be taking the news well.
After Rob Whittaker’s last minute withdrawal from the UFC 234 main event, his challenger turned up to face media with a championship belt draped over his left shoulder.
Gastelum claimed that Whittaker’s forfeit meant he was the new champion, although he couldn’t provide any confirmation on the change in the middleweight division.
“This is my belt,” Gastelum told reporters backstage at UFC 234.
“I earned this. I showed up, traveled thousands and thousands of miles from home, made the weight. In my world, the wrestling world, if the guy shows up and makes the weight, for some reason cancels the bout, the guy forfeits the match – I win.
“I am the champion.”
MORE UFC 234 NEWS
When pressed on if it was official – given there’d been no announcement from the UFC – Gastelum simply said, “what does that say right there?”, as he looked towards the UFC gold.
He had the UFC’s newly-designed belt; a specific design that only one man in the UFC currently holds: Henry Cejudo.
UFC president Dana White later confirmed it was, in fact, the flyweight champ’s belt; calling Gastelum’s stunt “cute”.
Don’t fret, Gastelum is not the 185-pound champion. What’s next for him, though?
“Hopefully Rob heals up great, I wish him a speedy recovery and when he heals up maybe he can get a crack at my title,” Gastelum said, continuing with his ‘I’m the champ’ shtick.
He also mentioned the possibility of fighting the winner of the newly-minted Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva main event.
Gastelum called for Dana White and the UFC to make up for the costs; both physical and financial – more than $50,000, apparently – from his fight preparation.
“Hopefully he takes care of me well,” Gastelum said.
“We didn’t talk numbers or anything, but I mean, I spent a lot of money on this camp I expect to be fully reimbursed.”
Gastelum added: “This was the hardest camp of my life, so for them to rip this opportunity from me, I ain’t going to have it.
“I’m not going home empty handed. I promised my people I was going to go home with some hardware and here I am. I’m going to go home with the belt.”