Edmen Shahbazyan is looking to turn some more heads when he headlines this Saturday’s card against Derek Brunson.
Shahbazyan vs. Brunson was originally scheduled to be the co-main event, but after Irene Aldana tested positive for COVID-19,the bout was moved to headliner status.
Although being the main event is exciting for the 22-year-old, this is the third time this fight against Brunson has been booked so he’s just eager to get in there.
“Of course I would’ve wanted to fight in March at 248. Everything happens for a reason, nothing frustrating for me. I kept in shape and worked harder,” Shahbazyan said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “I’m actually in better shape now and gotten way stronger than before. I’m even more ready, you give me more time it will be a better version of me.”
Entering this fight, many are talking about how Shahbazyan and Israel Adesanya have been on the same trajectory. Both fought Brad Tavares and their next fight was against Brunson.
Yet, for the undefeated prospect, he isn’t paying attention to any of that.
“I see people saying that. But, honestly, I am just taking it one fight at a time. Whatever they are doing, they are doing it right,” Shahbazyan said. “I’m going in there to beat every person I’m in front of. I look at it one fight at a time and my goal is to beat Brunson. Whatever is after that will happen.”
For Edmen Shahbazyan, this will no doubt be his toughest test to date. Brunson has been a perennial top-10 contender at middleweight for years. His wrestling is also a strong suit of his game, so the 22-year-old knows his takedown defense will be shown in this fight.
“I’m prepared for whatever he throws my way. We have had a long time to prepare for this guy. I’m ready for whatever it takes,” he said. “I think it is cool, they don’t know what to expect. Once it does happen, they will see I have a ground game and I will showcase.”
Even though Shahbazyan is only 22, he enters this fight as a sizeable -325 favorite but isn’t paying any attention to that. Instead, he says he just needs to go in there and do what he is capable of and get his hand raised.
“I never predict when or how I am going to finish the fight. I’m going to be the best version of myself and fully prepared to do whatever it takes to get the victory,” he said. “I see this fight playing out by me imposing a lot of skills people haven’t seen and go in there and put on a really good performance. A dominant performance and showcase all my skills.”
Should Shahbazyan get his hand raised, he knows he will be closing in on his goal of being the youngest UFC champion.
Not overlooking Brunson, but with a win over him, it will put me a couple of fights away from the title. I know I have until 23 years and eight months. I turn 23 in November so I have until July of 2021. So, next July I have to accomplish that goal,” Shahbazyan concluded. “Everything happens for a reason but whatever it is, I will reach my goal as best I can. With a win over him, a top-five guy and then a title shot after that. It might even happen before July.”
Do you think Edmen Shahbazyan will beat Derek Brunson on Saturday night?