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Gastelum's UFC Saudi Arabia bout moved to middleweight after weight issues

Cooper Neill / UFC / Getty

The UFC Saudi Arabia fight between Kelvin Gastelum and Daniel Rodriguez was moved from welterweight to middleweight Thursday after Gastelum said he would struggle to make weight, according to the UFC's website.

Gastelum said at media day earlier Thursday he had a "pretty hard training camp" and was concerned he wouldn't be able to cut down to 170 pounds by Friday's weigh-in.

"There's a lot of things that went on behind the scenes that a lot of people don't know, don't get to see," Gastelum said, courtesy of MMA Crazy. "But it's been pretty hard to get my weight down. ... Harder than last time."

He added: "I am pretty worried this week, but we're gonna talk with the manager and come up with the best game plan."

Rodriguez said he tried to make the fight a catchweight but then agreed to fight Gastelum at 185 pounds.

"(Gastelum) must be having such a bad fight camp that he can't even make 180," Rodriguez said. "I'm currently 179 pounds, so I have to put weight back on.

"It's been 13 weeks since I found out about this fight. I'm sure he has, too. The fact that he's saying that he's having a bad fight camp, it makes no sense. I feel like it's a lack of discipline. I don't know if he's having a bad fight camp or just being lazy and doesn't want to make the weight."

Rodriguez said Gastelum's weight-cutting issues put him in "a really tough spot" because he's "so invested in this fight." He added that he's "lost a little respect" for Gastelum as a professional.

"I need this fight to happen," Rodriguez said. "It's been such a long fight camp. I did agree to take a percent of his purse, which is only fair. I just felt like 180 would've been a good weight, but it's not my first time coming through for the company."

Gastelum returned to the welterweight division at UFC Austin last December after seven years and 12 fights as a middleweight. He lost to Sean Brady by third-round submission.

Gastelum has a history of issues on the scale while competing at 170 pounds, having officially missed weight twice and canceling another fight due to weight-cutting issues.

The 32-year-old said Thursday he plans to stay at welterweight following UFC Saudi Arabia, which takes place Saturday at Kingdom Arena and is headlined by a middleweight bout between former champion Robert Whittaker and Ikram Aliskerov.

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