Edmen Shahbazyan had his eyes on Jack Hermansson after their recent fights.
In August, Shahbazyan headlined his first UFC show but came up short against Derek Brunson. After the loss, the now 23-year-old wanted some time off to work on his skills, and after Hermansson lost to Marvin Vettori, he said to his team that is who he wants to fight next.
“Well, I had a few months off to train a little bit and improve on my skills and work, work, work. There were a couple of fights offered that weren’t making the most sense. We wanted this fight, and eventually, it all fell into place,” Shahbazyan said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “We got the call and we were like hell yeah, let’s do it. I’m excited. It’s motivating for me, it’s another chance for me to break into the top of the division. Beating this guy will put me up there. I wanted this fight, I’m happy it happened and I can’t wait.”
Shahbazyan and Hermansson were supposed to fight this Saturday at UFC 262 but the fight was postponed a week to UFC Vegas 27. However, even with the fight still happening, many questioned the UFC’s matchmaking for giving Shahbazyan a stern test after his first career loss.
Yet, according to Shahbazyan, he only wants to fight the best and he knows there are no easy fights in the top-15 of the middleweight ranks.
“I’m in the UFC, and I got to fight the best. You are going to fight the best, so I wanted to take all the good fights,” Shahbazyan said. “I want to go out there and perform and be the best. To be the best you got to beat the best. Yeah, I’m coming off a loss, but I learned a lot already from it. I think stylistically this is a great matchup for me.”
Entering the fight against Hermansson, Shahbazyan is fully aware he has to be worried about the ground game. However, he knows on the feet he’s the better striker. So, he’s confident he will be able to find the finish, but won’t rush anything.
“I’ve been working on my ground game a lot and it’s been improving a lot, I’ll be ready for anything. We will see. I’m just going to be ready for the full fight, the 15 minutes, if the finish comes I’ll take it,” Shahbazyan said. “Everyone knows I’m a finisher, I’m going to put on a performance. I’m motivated to get back into the win column. I’ve been training hard, working really hard and I’m excited to go out and perform.”
If Shahbazyan gets his hand raised on May 22, the goal for the rising contender is to face someone in the top-five and continue to work his way up the ranks.
“With a win over Jack Hermansson, I want to fight a top-five or top-six guy (next) and keep climbing to be the best,” Shahbazyan concluded.
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