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One-time interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum on Sunday released a statement vowing to continue on after a loss to ex-champ Robert Whittaker in the main event of UFC Vegas 24.
Gastelum was swept on the scorecards, losing every round to Whittaker for unanimous 50-45 tallies. But he was optimistic about his future, writing on Twitter, “I still believe I can get the job done and be one of the best!”
In fact, Gastelum is considered one of the UFC’s best at 185 pounds and is currently ranked No. 8 in the promotion’s rankings. The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner has fallen short, however, against top-ranked competition, including Israel Adesanya, who battered him in a back-and-forth battle that won “Fight of the Year” honors but ultimately led to Adesanya winning the interim belt he later unified by beating Whittaker.
Gastelum was scheduled to face Whittaker at the conclusion of their time as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 28 Whittaker still held the belt. But a last-second illness forced Whittaker to withdraw, and the Aussie champ went on to get knocked out by Adesanya.
Gastelum is 1-4 in his past five outings with a decision over Ian Heinisch added to setbacks against Adesanya, Darren Till, Jack Hermansson, and most recently Whittaker.
As with the Adesanya fight, Gastelum took a significant amount of damage in his fight against Whittaker, absorbing 150 strikes over five rounds. He also gave up four takedowns.
Whittaker has called for a rematch with Adesanya in September or October, though he said a post-fight medical checkup will determine his timeline.