The middleweight division’s newest top-5 contender has called for a showdown against the former interim-title challenger Kelvin Gastelum.
The Swede managed to turn out expectations completely on their head with a strong and confident victory over Ronaldo Souza at UFC Fort Lauderdale last weekend.
Diving into the dangerous waters of Jacare’s ground-game, Hermansson was able to come through looking strong – proving his own elite-level pedigree while brushing aside one of the division’s perennial contenders.
Speaking to BJPenn.com in a recent interview, Hermansson expressed his delight at having finally cracked the divisional top-5 and his excitement for what the future holds for him.
“It feels great. You know, you’re always talking about the top 15, top 10, and top 5. So now I’m in fine company in the top 5.
“First I was a little disappointed I didn’t get a finish. But now reflecting a little bit afterwards I feel like I got to show everybody what I got in five rounds.
“If it would’ve been an early finish people might have said it was a fluke but now they can see that I beat him technically. So it feels good and I’m super excited to see what the next step will be.”
As for this return to the octagon, despite having fought three times in the last five months, The Joker made it known that he is looking to get straight back in there to make his push for UFC gold.
“Straight away! Absolutely. Man, I would love to fight those guys any given day That’s what I want, that’s my goal, my dream in this sport is to be the champion and there’s nothing that would make me say no to that fight
“I’ve been thinking more and more about it and I think the Paulo Costa and Romero fight has to happen. So I think those two guys have to fight each other so maybe Gastelum would be a good one next.
“His grappling is alright but it’s his striking that is his bread and butter. He is a really good boxer and that is his main strength.
“Of course he has good wrestling as well. I think its gonna be challenging to put him on the ground but I think I’m gonna have a big advantage when I put him on the ground.”
Regardless of what happens next, Hermansson’s status as one of the elite middleweights of the world has been set in stone.
To defeat the legendary Jacare in the manner that he did could well be an early shout for breakout performance of the year by the time things get through.
After UFC 236, the eyes of the MMA world were all of a sudden fixed on the middleweight division and its title picture.
With the injection of Hermansson and the possibility of a matchup against Kelvin Gastelum to come, it’s clear that 185lb could see some major changes over the course of the coming months.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena