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Kelvin Gastelum wants to go 3-0 in 2021, ready to return as soon as late March

Back in the win column, Kelvin Gastelum wants to continue building on his momentum.

Gastelum (16-6 MMA, 10-6 UFC), who snapped a three-fight losing skid with a win over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258, is ready to return as early as next month – and may already have something in the works.

Although no specific opponent has been offered, Gastelum said his manager floated the idea of him potentially making a quick turnaround and competing at UFC 260 on March 27.

“Ali (Abdelaziz) mentioned something about fighting in about five weeks,” Gastelum told MMA Junkie. “Nothing has been put together. He just mentioned to me that maybe if I want to keep active, then maybe five weeks would be an option. But I don’t know if that’s going to come to fruition. I don’t know if that’s going to happen.

“I said, ‘Hell yeah – let’s do it.’ I want to stay active. I want to continue to fight just as long as the opponent is right. I want to keep moving up the rankings, so (it’s) got to be a good opponent, as well.”

At 29, Gastelum has fought a who’s who in the sport, including former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, Ronaldo Souza, Darren Till and current champ Israel Adesanya, whom he took to the brink in a memorable interim title fight in 2019.

But despite mixed results in his past eight outings, Gastelum has no intentions of taking the easy route. He wants to dive right back into the deep end and take on the division’s top contenders.

“That’s always been part of my thing,” Gastelum said. “I’ve always wanted to move up the ladder, fight the best names and fight the higher-ranked names, and the UFC has always been good to me. They’ve always been really, really good to me, have given me most of the fights that I wanted to be able to move up in my career, and I’m just grateful it’s all working out. I’m just grateful that they give me the opportunities. Sometimes it works out in my favor. Sometimes it doesn’t.

“I want to fight three times at least this year, hopefully go 3-0 and keep moving up the rankings. That’s what’s on my mind.”

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