It’s an ambitious schedule for the No. 15-ranked Heinisch, but his optimism is warranted, considering that after being forced out of his November 7 bout with Brendan Allen, he soon got a call for a UFC 258 pay-per-view main card bout against former world title challenger Kelvin Gastelum. 

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Not bad, Mr. Heinisch.  

“Yeah, the opportunity’s definitely way better, but it was a little bit hard becaus it would have been great to get that knockout (over Allen) and then be able to fight Gastelum,” he said. “Last year was a pretty inactive year, which I don’t like. But that’s the way things go. God has a plan and it was hard to watch Sean Strickland knock him out the week after and get the 50G bonus because it was almost like, ‘Oh man, he stole my bonus and my knockout.’ (Laughs) Brendan Allen was ready to go, but everything happens for a reason, and I’m excited for this opportunity coming up.”

Former LFA champions Heinisch and Allen did have a little heat going into their bout, and anything that gives you more motivation to get up in the morning and train is never a bad thing, but Heinisch is just as amped up for his fight with Gastelum, not because there’s any bad blood, but because facing the No. 9-ranked contender is the exact kind of matchup the 32-year-old has been craving since his Octagon debut in 2018.

Owner of a 3-2 slate in the UFC, Heinisch came out of the gates fast, stumbled a bit, then got back on track with the win over Meerschaert. Through it all, he’s kept a positive attitude, something hard to fathom given his well-documented battles in life before MMA helped him turn everything around.