Edmen Shahbazyan was at a crossroads in his younger profession after shedding three straight UFC fights.
As soon as hailed as the way forward for the middleweight division, the 25-year-old Contender Sequence veteran was in a situation the place another setback might probably bounce him from the promotion. Realizing he wanted to vary his coaching and preparation, Shahbazyan met distinguished supervisor Ali Abdelaziz, who finally introduced him on as a consumer, with one situation: He wanted to take a yr off from preventing.
Shahbazyan, who was as soon as managed by former UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey, relocated to Las Vegas and skilled full time at Xtreme Couture earlier than reserving his return at UFC 282. He appeared reborn, incomes a second-round knockout over Dalcha Lungiambula. The victory was 13 months within the making.
“I’m undoubtedly glad I did it,” Shahbazyan informed MMA Combating about his hiatus from the game. “Throughout that point off, I actually, actually improved on myself mentally, bodily and technically. I’m grateful for Ali for believing in me and actually giving me that good recommendation. My coaches as effectively. Simply dedicating the time to work with me and actually serving to me enhance throughout that point.
“You need to get again fast and get again within the win column, however there’s changes to be made. You’ve obtained to enhance, day-by-day, and if it’s like a yr or two years off and also you want these crucial enhancements and changes, it’s important to take that point off to get again higher.”
The break day was additionally good for Shahbazyan’s psychological well being, which was simply as wanted as his work with new coaches and fighters at Xtreme Couture, and particularly after the “poisonous feeling” of his earlier camp.
“The entire change [was] actually good for my thoughts and soul, for starters,” he mentioned. “The remainder of the methods and the enhancements I’ve made, it was a lot wanted, and I’m completely happy I did it. It’s solely going to be higher from right here.
“Getting the victory and actually following the sport plan, sticking to it and getting the victory, you couldn’t ask for extra. I’m completely happy.”
In line with Abdelaziz, an opportunity encounter with Shahbazyan throughout a coaching session led to them working collectively. Even earlier than that, although, he knew the once-promising prospect was in determined want of a brand new course.
“What occurred was we met at [American Kickboxing Academy], and we skilled, and I might inform he had some stuff to work on,” Abdelaziz mentioned about Shahbazyan. “After that, we didn’t speak about administration or something, however he reached out to me, and I mentioned, ‘Pay attention, for you to have the ability to compete within the UFC, you’re younger, you could have a number of room to develop.’ He was good, however I felt he had a lot room to develop. I mentioned, ‘Transfer right here, we’ll construct a workforce round you, Jason [Manley] and Dewey Cooper,’ all of us talked and we thought this may very well be a great workforce.
“After that, they put some nice work, [and] they actually improved him. I don’t suppose he’s reached 50 p.c of his potential but. … I informed him take a yr off and get higher, develop. Now, I imagine he’s able to develop and change into a greater fighter. Each combat he’s going to get higher, however now he has a really robust basis.”
It may very well be argued Shahbazyan was rushed in the course of the early a part of his UFC profession, scoring a major occasion alternative in simply his fourth combat with the promotion. He received’t make any excuses for the loss he suffered in that combat towards Derek Brunson or the subsequent two in a row that adopted, however “The Golden Boy” discovered a helpful lesson he’s carrying ahead.
“I’m not speeding something,” Shahbazyan defined. “I’m going to be within the gymnasium bettering. I’m going to take a number of days off as a result of I kicked loads so my leg is a bit of swollen. I’m going to let that heal up a bit of bit after which again within the gymnasium working, bettering, getting higher. Struggle by combat, no rush.”
The identical goes for his stage of competitors, as a result of Shahbazyan nonetheless believes there’s a UFC title in his future. However he’s not going to run head-first right into a brick wall simply to interrupt into the highest 15 rankings once more. As a substitute, he’s placing religion within the folks that have his greatest pursuits at coronary heart.
“My supervisor Ali and my coaches, they impart together with me, they usually’ll work out the matchup and the whole lot they usually’ll simply wind me up and I’ll simply go combat,” Shahbazyan mentioned. “I’d say round possibly April. That needs to be splendid, I believe.”