The 23-year-old has climbed the ranks of the middleweight standings, where he currently sits at No. 11. Even though he suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, Shahbazyan worked hard to return to the winning column this weekend at UFC 268.
“Whatever bad positions I was in, I put myself in those positions as I train and I get by and push myself out of those positions,” he said. “And I did that. I am improving and I am improving. I’m still 23, so I have a lot to show, a lot to improve and I’m happy to do it on the bigger stage.
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“I’m young and I’m improving and any loss I have, and any win too, I’m still using it as a learning lesson and it’s going to be that way for a long time.”
The last time “The Golden Boy” came out victorious was in the same arena he will compete in this weekend – Madison Square Garden. His last two fights were at UFC APEX in Las Vegas without a crowd, so Shahbazyan is eager to return to the Octagon and fight in front of the fans. He likes to entertain them, but he also feels he performs better in these situations.
“New York City is always different,” Shahbazyan said. “It sounds different, so Saturday night is going to be fun and I’m excited for it. It feels good to be back. I’m back in action with the crowd. My last two fights there was no crowd, now we’re going to have a crowd so I’m excited for that. The energy is different there. It’s better for me. “
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And while some may feel the pressure after two straight falls, Shahbazyan does not. He takes the pressure and knows what he’s capable of, that’s how he got to where he is today.