Kelvin Gastelum has accused newly-crowned UFC middleweight champions Robert Whittaker of avoiding him.
Gastelum is unhappy about being denied a title shot following his stunning first-round knockout win over former champ Michael Bisping at UFC Shanghai last month.
The 26-year old Californian called out Whittaker immediately after his victory over Bisping.
Whittaker, who beat Yoel Romero to win the interim title at UFC 213, was elevated to champion last week after Georges Saint Pierre decided to vacate the title citing colitis.
Despite Gastelum’s claims, Whittaker will now defend his title against another former champion in Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 in February in Australia.
Now Gastelum has accused ‘The Reaper’ of choosing the easier fight against Rockhold.
“I knew Luke Rockhold and I were both in the front-running for this fight,” Gastelum said in a recent interview. “I was then told Robert Whittaker wanted the tougher fight and he picked Rockhold. In my opinion that is the easier fight because I feel I’m the toughest fight for anyone in this division. I think Whittaker took the easier fight by going with Luke.”
Gastelum, a former sparring partner of Whittaker, said he believes the Aussie is avoiding him because he knows how good he is.
“He’s [Whittaker is] absolutely worried about me and for good reason. He and I have trained together in the past and know what the other is all about. We know what the other brings to the table.”
He added that Rockhold, 33, doesn’t deserve a title shot due to his inactivity over the last two years.
Rockhold spent more than one year out of the octagon after being knocked out by Bisping at UFC 199, and only returned with a win over David Branch at UFC Fight Night 116.
“The situation bothers me a little bit with him choosing to fight Rockhold over me. Luke has pretty much been out for two years then comes back and fights David Branch, who wasn’t even competing in the UFC a year ago. He beats Branch and gets the title shot so I don’t know what that says about [the UFC] but it’s not good.”