At just 22 years of age, Edmen Shahbazyan is one of the fastest rising young stars in mixed martial arts (MMA), exploding out of the gate with a perfect 11-0 record, including going 4-0 inside the Octagon.
Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones currently holds the record for being the youngest UFC champion ever at 23 years of age. And that’s a distinction Shahbazyan wants, which is why he’s giving himself 18 months to become UFC’s middleweight champion.
“I know being the youngest champion is at 23 years and 8 months by Jon Jones,” Shahbazyan said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I turn 23 in November and then I have eight months after that. That leaves me until July of next year.”
Since making his UFC debut in November of 2018, Shahbazyan has fought four times in twelve months, which puts him on pace to reach his goal.
“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.”
It’s not out of the realm of possibility since current division champion, Israel Adesanya, became UFC champion 18 months after making his promotional debut thanks to a busy fight schedule that saw him compete seven times in that span.
“I’m coming for that belt eventually. I want to make statements. I want to keep getting better. I want to fight top ranked opponents and bettering myself.”
As far as his prediction for the upcoming title fight between Adesanya and Paulo Costa, which is set for UFC 253 on Sept. 19, “The Golden Boy” is picking “The Last Stylebender” to retain his title.
“I think he 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,” he said before admitting a championship showdown against him is the fight he’s after.
“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.
“I like to dream big and dreaming big and accomplishing that kind of goal would be amazing for me. Not only would I be the youngest champion, but I’d be the first ever Armenian-American champion. So two good things in one.”
Shahbazyan’s next step in trying to catch “Bones” is a huge showdown against Derek Brunson this Saturday night (Aug. 1, 2020) in the main event of UFC Vegas 5 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To see the updated UFC “Brunson vs. Shahbazyan” fight card and line up for Aug. 1 in Las Vegas click here.