INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Chris Gonzalez hopes he’s considered for an alternate spot in the lightweight grand prix after Bellator 290.
Gonzalez (8-2 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) rallied to take out Max Rohskopf in Round 2 on Saturday inside Kia Forum. The 31-year-old, who rebounded from a submission loss to current lightweight champion Usman Nurmagomedov, is ready to jump into the lightweight tournament if anyone pulls out.
“Obviously Nurmagomedov is the champ right now, so we know where he stands. I think I’m right there at the top of the pecking order,” Gonzalez said at the Bellator 290 post-fight news conference. “So, one more fight, and I plan on being right there. I’m gonna stay ready, wait for that phone call. I never wish injuries on anybody, but if anybody gets hurt during this tournament, I want to make sure that I’m available to slide right in.”
He continued, “Usman’s a hell of a fighter. He caught me early in that fight. Not to take anything away from him, he’s a dog like I said. I’m sure I’ll be seeing him down the road.”
Gonzalez admits he felt slightly snubbed out of the grand prix but understands why he wasn’t included.
“As soon as they came out with that tournament, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little pissed that I wasn’t in it,” Gonzalez said. “But at the same time, I couldn’t really be mad that they chose the guys that they did because all of those guys were deserving in their own right.
“So I think had there been a couple more athletes in the tournament, I definitely would have been chosen, but that wasn’t the case. So now I can just do what I can do, just take care of the people they do put in front of me like I did tonight and stay ready for when that phone call comes.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 290.