Jacare” is eyeing an interim middleweight title fight against Gastelum for UFC 237, which takes place May 11 in Curitiba, Brazil. Souza called out Gastelum in a tweet Saturday after the news of Gastelum’s title fight against champ Robert Whittaker getting cancelled broke.
— Ronaldo Jacaré (@JacareMMA) February 9, 2019
Souza and Gastelum fought at UFC 224 last May, with Gastelum picking up a split-decision victory. Gastelum has not fought since that fight, but Souza is coming off an impressive third-round knockout over former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
Gastelum released a statement after the Whittaker fight was scrapped, but he did not reveal his plans regarding his next fight (whether he wants to wait for Whittaker or fight someone else).
Whittaker, who was expected to make his first title defense against Gastelum on Saturday night at UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia, is undergoing surgery Saturday for a hernia in his abdomen. Whittaker was transported to the hospital early Sunday morning local Melbourne time after feeling pain in his abdomen.
It is unclear when Whittaker will be ready to get back into the cage.
UFC 237 is set to take place at Arena da Baixada. The biggest fight currently scheduled for the card is a strawweight title bout between champ Rose Namajunas and Brazilian challenger Jessica Andrade. The UFC is also targeting a women’s bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm, but that bout has yet to be signed