The Ultimate Fighter 17 champion Gastelum, who had a rough 1-5 record inside the Octagon, was just one position from from dropping out of the middleweight rankings. That is why, to put it mildly, his return after more than a year away was so important.
In his matchup with Chris Curtis, Gastelum displayed glimmers of his former self on the feet and ultimately won by unanimous decision.
With the comeback victory, Gastelum moved up the middleweight rankings four spots to #11, staking his claim to a title eliminator against Dricus Du Plessis.
But, after being shot down by the South African, who is now scheduled to face Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, Gastelum has made a huge decision.
Although Gastelum initially appeared dedicated to another middleweight title run and pursuit of a rematch with Israel Adesanya, who Gastelum lost to in a 2019 interim championship match, it has since been revealed that the 31-year-old Californian is considering leaving the category.
Gastelum previously competed in the welterweight division from 2013 and 2015, making his divisional debut one match after his triumph on The Ultimate Fighter. In his five 170-pound scheduled fights, Gastelum missed weight twice, tipping the scales in the wrong direction for his victories over Nico Musoke.