American UFC star Kelvin Gastelum insists he has the fight style to derail the title aspirations of Kiwi-Nigerian Israel Adesanya next week in Atlanta.
The pair will hook up in the Octagon on April 14 (NZT) for the UFC interim middleweight title - a belt created to fill the void, while the division's reigning champion, NZ-born Aussie Robert Whittaker, recovers from a hernia operation.
Gastelum, 27, lost his shot at the title, when Whittaker withdrew on the morning of their scheduled February bout, so he's hungry to make up for lost time against Adesanya.
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"It was at my fingertips," he says. "Obviously, I was gutted.
"It was devastating, when all your emotions, thoughts and actions are focused on one objective, and then it doesn't happen.
"After all, I feel like things happen for a reason."
The match-up with unbeaten Adesanya, 29, was destined to happen - sooner or later. Both are up-and-comers in the division, offering a rivalry that could last for many years to come.
The winner of this meeting will likely progress to an eventual title fight with Whittaker, but even the loser shouldn't slip too far down the pecking order.
"We knew eventually we were going to fight this guy, whether it was now or later down the road," says Gastelum. "We knew that Israel is going to be around for a while and that I will be around for a while.
"He's such a skilled fighter, but we feel that my style is a problem for him and for anyone. We plan to exploit that."
Join us at 2pm Sunday for live updates of Israel Adesanya vs Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236.