Edmen Shahbazyan says there is ‘no ill will’ towards Ronda Rousey or Edmond Tarverdyan but ‘a change was needed’

When Edmen Shahbazyan first sat down with his new manager, he heard something for the first time in his career.

Rather than pitch him about the biggest named opponents he could face or the potential endorsement deals on the table if he signs, the 24-year-old middleweight was told he actually had to quit. to worry about fighting right now and just focus on getting better.

“When I first went to meet Ali [Abdelaziz], he said one of the main things if he signed me was that he wouldn’t give me a fight for seven or eight months,” Shahbazyan revealed in an interview with MMA Fighting. “He just wants me to find work and get better and better.

“I love that he tells me that. It just shows that he cares about you to know that you’re going to be trained properly, in good shape before I take the next fight. I respect that a lot from Ali.

Signing with Abdelaziz, who manages fighters such as UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, Islam Makhachev, Beneil Dariush and Henry Cejudo, was the first step Shahbazyan took in a total remake surrounding his fighting career.

Considering he was being touted as one of the sport’s hottest prospects after just four fights in the UFC, Shahbazyan went on to suffer three straight losses, including a pair of knockouts to Derek Brunson and Nassourdine Imavov.

He went from being a future title contender to a monumental bust that didn’t happen and even though Shahbazyan tried to ignore the noise, it was impossible not to think about the roller coaster he’s been on lately. years.

“I signed The Contender [Series] when I was 20 and made my UFC debut 10 days after turning 21,” Shahbazyan said. “I have plenty of time. The MMA community, you know how they are. You don’t do right one or more times they will screw you, that’s how it is. That’s what makes MMA fans cool and unique too. I am young, I will improve.

Along with his new manager, Shahbazyan also decided to move to Las Vegas where he started working at the UFC Performance Institute with plans to call Xtreme Couture his home gym from now on.

While fighters regularly change gyms in MMA, Shahbazyan has only ever really known one trainer and one team all his life after growing up at Glendale Fighting Club under the watchful eye of Edmond Tarverdyan, who is well known as Ronda Rousey’s long period. head coach. In fact, Tarverdyan and Rousey teamed up to guide Shahbazyan’s career while working with them as a coach and manager.

Looking back now, Shahbazyan obviously appreciates everything Rousey and Tarverdyan did for him, but he also realized he had to change course if he was to reach his full potential as an athlete and start enjoying success again. at the UFC.

“Going from my last two fights, I think a change was definitely needed and it was long overdue,” Shahbazyan said. “I looked at my options to see where I could be, I feel like I can unleash my full potential and I believe Vegas had the best thing. I am away from distractions. I can concentrate on training. Of course you have the strip here if you want to go wild, but if you stay off the strip, for a fighter you can train here, go home and rest, come back to train, go home, rest . It’s a warrior’s life here.

“Of course the gyms, the high-level partners to work with. There are a lot of good guys here who constantly come because of the fights. It’s good. I watch my last fights and a change was needed so it was the best choice.

In the end, Shahbazyan admits changing managers and moving to Las Vegas was just the best choice for his career, although he has nothing but respect for the people who helped him grow in the sport.

“I needed a change,” Shahbazyan said. “It was time. It was definitely time for me. It could have been done sooner, but now I’m just happy to be here and start the new job. I haven’t spoken [to them] since I left. On my side, I have a good relationship [with them]. I have no problem. All my respect because I respect what they did for me, but on my side, I’m fine.

“I haven’t spoken to [Ronda] in, say, a few months. I have nothing against her, respect on my part. As for my end, I have no ill will.

With a fresh start in Las Vegas, Shahbazyan is already feeling better than ever, but he’s still a long way from where he wants to be in the long run.

He’s spent the past month getting his body in shape to get to work as soon as he arrives at Xtreme Couture where he’ll work with trainers like Eric Nicksick, Dewey Cooper, Jake Shields and Jason Manly.

Shahbazyan does not plan to compete again until the end of 2022 as he is following his manager’s edict that he should just focus on improving right now rather than obsessing over an opponent and a date when he will return to the UFC.

It’s all done with a purpose as he plans to come back better than ever with renewed vigor which Shahbazyan says will result in many impressive wins.

“I feel good already,” Shahbazyan said. “I’m in better shape. I am constantly working and improving, and once I started upgrading to Xtreme [Couture] so, I’ll get all the good fights out there. You will see Edmen 2.0, no doubt.

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