It’s safe to say that there is no love lost between UFC Austin headliners Arman Tsarukyan and Bobby Green.
The two lightweight standouts had vastly different experiences in The Lone Star State on Saturday night. Tsarukyan established himself as a legitimate title contender in the lightweight division with a stunning 64-second knockout of Beneil Dariush in the main event, while Green suffered yet another setback via a brutal first-round knockout against rising star Jalin Turner in the evening’s co-main.
Green’s loss came with a bit of controversy as veteran referee Kerry Hatley allowed ‘King’ to take a plethora of unprotected shots on the ground before finally stepping in. UFC CEO Dana White called it one of the worst stoppages he had ever seen, but Arman Tsarukyan certainly seemed to enjoy it.
Ahead of fight night, things got physical between Tsarukyan and Green in a hotel lobby after ‘Ahalkalakets’ took exception to some disparaging comments Green made about his particular style of fighting.
“He was talking sh*t about me,” Tsarukyan said at the post-fight press conference. “I just came and asked him, ‘Bro, don’t talk sh*t about me.’ Because where I’m from you can’t just talk, you’ve got to answer for your words. So that’s why I just wanted to tell him don’t talk sh*t about me because if you’re going to talk sh*t, we’ve got to meet and talk. So he pushed me, I pushed him, and that’s it. Done. Hopefully, I’m not going to see him again in my life.
“I was super, super happy when his head was bouncing on the canvas.”
Tsarukyan’s victory over Dariush should put him firmly within the top five of the lightweight division come Monday. He has now won three in a row and eight of his last nine inside the Octagon.
“Maybe I was born confident,” Tsarukyan said. “To be honest, I train a lot. I train in the best gym with the best fighters in the world and I feel like I’m the best, that’s why I’m confident. I saw a lot of Armenian flags and I thought, oh my God, that gives me different emotions. I was very calm and when I saw my guys around me I said, ‘No way someone can beat me tonight so I’m going to die or win.’”
Arman Tsarukyan Ready to Run it back with Islam Makhachev
Following his quick finish, Tsarukyan called out reigning lightweight world champion Islam Makhachev. It’s unlikely that ‘Ahalkalakets’ gets the next shot at the 155-pound crown with both Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje waiting their turn at the champ, but the callout makes a lot of sense considering Tsarukyan’s history with the ‘Dagestani Destroyer.
In April 2019, Tsarukyan made his promotional debut against Makhachev and was decisively decisioned. He expects their inevitable rematch to produce a very different result.
“I always think of the best-case scenario and I feel like I can knock [Makhachev] out in the first round,” Tsarukyan said. “We’ve got to think about the best, we shouldn’t think about the worst situation” (h/t MMA Fighting).