UFC lightweight contender Arman Tsarukyan just put on an incredibly impressive performance last night at UFC Vegas 66, where he completely dismantled former M-1 Challenge lightweight champion Damir Ismagulov en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Going into the fight, Tsarukyan was 18-3, coming off a heavily disputed decision loss to Mateusz Gamrot in their five round affair back in June, while Ismagulov was 24-1, having gone 5-0 in the promotion up until last night.
Tsarukyan spoke on his performance last night, as well as what he wants next in his post-fight interview:
“I felt like if I get his back I’m going to choke him right away because I heard he doesn’t have good wrestling, grappling. But today I understood he’s tough on the ground too, and it’s difficult to hold him there. He was really good. Nobody stopped him or knocked him out in the UFC. Nobody (beat) him in the UFC, and I’m the first guy who beat him here.
“I think it’s a big fight for me and big name. Yeah, he’s not in the top five but he’s tougher than (a lot of) top fighters.
“Of course, it’s big business and they know I’m gonna beat the guys in the top five. Me and Damir, we don’t choose opponents. For example, I think we have (had) to fight with each other. One day I’m going to fight with big names. Hopefully next fight will be a big name.
“My goal is to (beat) everybody the UFC gives me and it doesn’t matter who it’s gonna be. I would like to have my next fight (opposing) Charles Oliveira or (Beneil) Dariush because I deserve to have a big name. They don’t have a fight (booked) now and I’m ready.
“I don’t (didn’t) get injured, I feel good. I’m young and I can cut weight. If the UFC offered me a big fight, I’m going to be ready in two months. But if they’re going to offer me someone from the top 15, I’m not going to fight.”
Tsarukyan continued: “I’m going to wait like a little bit, improve my skills and go to to train with my coach (at ATT), because last camp I had in Thailand because I didn’t have a visa. He got mad. This time, I’ve got to go to Miami, ATT, and train with him for a long time to choke everybody. This time, I made some mistakes in grappling and I’m going to improve it and we’re going to choke everybody.
“I am happy, (I was) dominant every round. I wanted to finish him (Ismagulov). I tried to choke him, but he was tough. All the time I want to finish my opponents. If I had five rounds for sure I would submit him. I didn’t have enough time. He got tired in the third round, and I started to feel it. I tried to find a submission but I couldn’t do it. I think I did a good job. I would like to have 25 minutes. I already had that experience.”
Tsarukyan snapped Ismagulov’s 19-fight win streak last night with this victory, as he secured the universal 30-27 scorecard across the board.
Many peg him to be a future champion, and for good reason. He’s always had great kicks and a near unparalleled wrestling game, but his hands are coming along as well and having just turned 26 years old in October, sky is the limit for this Armenian stud.
Current top five UFC lightweight rankings, not including champion Islam Makhachev: Charles Oliveira (no. 1), Dustin Poirier (no. 2), Justin Gaethje (no. 3), Beneil Dariush (no. 4), Michael Chandler (no. 5).
Who would you like to see Arman Tsarukyan face next?
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