UFC 244: Motivated Edmen Shahbazyan Looking to Keep Climbing the Rankings Moving into 2020

UFC 244’s Edmen Shahbazyan wants to stay active, keep climbing the rankings.

New York, NY — Top middleweight prospect Edmen Shahbazyan has made waves ever since he entered the UFC off a win on Dana White’s Contender Series last year. With three fights and two finishes in the UFC proper, Shahbazyan, who trains under Edmond Tarverdyan at the Glendale Fighting Club, Ronda Rousey’s old stomping grounds, returns this Saturday at UFC 244.

There, he’ll face Brad Tavares, another step up in a career that has seen a steady rise pretty much from the outset.

At just 21-years-old, Shahbazyan is already being spoken of as a future champion. That kind of pressure can be debilitating for some fighters, but if Shahbazyan was feeling under the gun during Fight Week, he wasn’t showing it.

“I’m hungry. I’m motivated to go out there and perform. I can’t wait,” Shahbazyan told Cageside Press at the UFC 244 media day.

Saturday marks the youngster’s first fight on the East Coast. “I love it here. It’s cool, everything’s fast-paced. I’m just excited,” he said of his latest destination. More than just the city, though, what stands out to Shahbazyan is the venue he’ll be fighting in Saturday night.

“We were actually passing by Madison Square Garden the other day,” he recalled. “My coach was telling me all the historic boxing fights that have gone here. It’s just crazy to look at it, it’s crazy that I’m going to be performing there.”

Performing against a tough opponent in Brad Tavares, who previously shared the octagon with current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

“I think I match up very well against him, because I have a very well-rounded game,” Shahbazyan said of the pairing. “Growing up, I did all the aspects of MMA. I pretty much grew up doing everything combined. I think that’s a big advantage for me.”

Moving into 2020, it feels like Edmen Shahbazyan is primed for greatness. While Jon Jones remains the youngest champion in UFC history, and Maycee Barber has been vocal about chasing that record, Shahbazyan could very well be the one to claim it.

He’s not looking too far ahead, however. “Hopefully I want to stay as active as possible,” Shahbazyan said when asked about his 2020 goals. “Every two to four months, get a fight, and just keep going from there. If it’s a title, it’s a title. Just keep climbing the rankings.”

Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Brad Tavares takes place on the UFC 244 preliminary card, going down Saturday, November 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.