Kelvin Gastelum thinks UFC career on the line vs. Daniel Rodriguez: ‘Loser goes home’

Kelvin Gastelum isn’t mincing words when it comes to his reality at UFC on ABC 6: If he doesn’t win, his more than 11-year run with the organization is likely over.

“The Ultimate Fighter 18” winner Gastelum (17-9 MMA, 12-9 UFC) has had a number of memorable moments inside the octagon. He’s lost six of his past eight fights, however, and is in a desperate situation entering Saturday’s welterweight matchup with Daniel Rodriguez (17-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC) at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (ABC, ESPN, ESPN+).

“I feel like my back’s up against the wall a little bit – things have wanted the way I’ve wanted them to in my career lately,” Gastelum told MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “”This one does feel a little different. I need a win. I’m in a must-win situation. I think both of us. I think loser goes home. Loser packs. And goes home and doesn’t sign with the UFC.”

Gastelum is doing everything in his power to right the ship. After nine years at middleweight, he returned to the welterweight division in December and suffered a third-round submission defeat. It wasn’t the result Gastelum wanted, but it served as a building block for this weight class.

The 32-year-old said the process of shedding pounds for weigh-in day has been easier so far than prior to the fight with Brady, so there’s a lot of variables Gastelum thinks are swinging in his favor.

“As always I’m coming into this confident, confident in my abilities and confident I put in the right amount of work,” Gastelum said. “Just confident overall. I think I’m the better fight overall. This guy’s a tough guy but I think I’m better, I’m tougher and I’m going to come out with the win.”

Gastelum has no choice at this point other than to truly believe he will get his hand raised at UFC on ABC 6. Because he admits thoughts of the future where that doesn’t happen are somewhat frightening.

“It does (scare me) – it does,” Gastelum said. “But at the same time I’m a man who always thinks positive, so we’re going to stay positive.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ABC 6.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie