How Shahbazyan, Brunson see Saturday's man event
Undefeated Edmen "The Golden Boy" Shahbazyan is ranked #9 in the UFC's middleweight division, and he's just 22. The Edmond Tarverdyan protege fights #8 Derek Brunson in the main event of Saturday's UFC on ESPN+ 31 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. During a recent interview with Damon Martin for MMA Fighting, Shahbazyan said he goal to become the youngest ever UFC champion has not changed.
“Being the youngest champion is at 23 years and 8 months by Jon Jones,” said Shahbazyan. “I turn 23 in November and then I have eight months after that. That leaves me until July of next year.
“That’s a good amount of time for me to reach my goal of being champion. That’s one year from now, and I believe the way I’m going with a couple more wins, it will put me in that position to make that goal into reality.”
“Not only would I be the youngest champion, but I’d be the first ever Armenian-American champion. So two good things in one.”
“I think [Israel Adesanya] gets past Costa. I think he’s going to be slick for Costa and counter him. I think Costa has more of that coming in your face and getting you into a fight with him and that tires you. I think Adesanya will get out of the way and tag him up. I think Adesanya is a good fighter. A very slick fighter and a good champion. He’s definitely a challenge that I would love to face in the near future. It would be amazing. That’s definitely the fight I see in the future.”
Martin then spoke with Brunson for another MMA Fighting article.
“This fight can catapult me into another big fight," said Brunson. "Where they’re talking him as a potential title challenger, the same thing they were saying about the last guy I fought [Ian Heinisch] and kind of took his hype away from him.
“This guy right here, he’s talking about being the youngest champion. I go out here and beat him up, that takes everything away. He’s got to reset and that puts me back in the picture and people will start talking about me and my title hunt also.”
“He’s pretty solid. He’s good at what he does. He’s a consistent guy. He likes to come forward, striking based. He’s solid. He’s young, energetic, and he hasn’t lost so he’s confident.”
“If a guy has a lot of buzz, just like when Till came to middleweight. He didn’t fight a single fight but he had a lot of buzz around him so that fight will do a lot in terms of what you’re trying to do going forward. That’s kind of how I look at this matchup.”