14 Dec, 2019

UFC champ Israel Adesanya sees unbeaten Edmen Shahbazyan as a future foe – MMA Junkie

Israel Adesanya is keeping eyes on all the happenings in the UFC middleweight division, and that includes the come-up of Edmen Shahbazyan.

Shahbazyan (11-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is an unbeaten rising star at 185 pounds who has vocalized his desire to become youngest champion in UFC history. He just turned 22, and has a little less than two years to break Jon Jones’ mark in the record books.

After getting three solid wins to begin his UFC career, Shahbazyan really turned heads with a brutal knockout of Brad Tavares at UFC 244. Adesanya (18-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) was unable to stop Tavares inside five rounds when they fought, and the champ said the performance got his attention.

“I saw his fight,” Adesanya said during a recent appearance on the “JRE MME Show” with host Joe Rogan. “I didn’t know who he was until (my manager) told me. Then I rewatched his fight. He hit Brad Tavares with the head kick and that kind of got my attention, like, ‘Oh (expletive), who is this kid?’ At 185, he’s 22. He’s on the come-up. I played with Brad for five rounds. He starched him in one round. I’m not taking that lightly.”

UFC president Dana White said following UFC 244 that he’s high on Shahbazyan’s talent, but admitted caution must be taken with a prospect of this nature. Whether Shahbazyan is able to accomplish his goal of claiming the belt inside the set timeline remains to be seen, and only time will tell if Adesanya still holds the strap should he get there.

Adesanya’s immediate focus is on the division’s established top contenders such as Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero and more, but “The Last Stylebender” admitted Shahbazyan is more than just a blimp on the radar.

“I look at that kid – eventually when he comes up I’m sure I’ll see him at some point,” Adesanya said. “I need to get back to work. I’m working, but I’ve got the FOMO.”

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