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Shahbazyan Is Learning About Himself

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 30:  Edmen Shahbazyan prepares to fight Darren Stewart of United Kingdom during The Ultimate Fighter Finale event inside The Pearl concert theater at Palms Casino Resort on November 30, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)At 12 years old, Edmen Shahbazyan knew he wanted to fight in the UFC. 

He even has the picture to prove it. 

“To actually be in the UFC after knowing that for that long, it’s amazing,” Shahbazyan said. “I’ve dreamed of it ever since I was a kid.”

After winning his promotional debut over Darren Stewart at the TUF 28 Finale, “The Golden Boy” is looking to keep his undefeated record squeaky clean when he fights Charles Byrd at UFC 235. 

Although Shahbazyan was glad to keep his record unblemished, his debut win was a little bittersweet. Before entering the UFC, he made first-round finishes a habit. In fact, none of his fights made it past three-and-a-half minutes, and his contract-earning fight in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series lasted a whopping 40 seconds. 

Against Stewart, however, Shahbazyan showed off his grappling chops against the veteran, racking up a split decision victory. A little disappointed, he did walk away from the fight with another win and having proved something to himself.

“I showed a different part of my game,” he said. “That actually helped me, knowing I could go three, full, 5-minute rounds. It was just good, good experience, and definitely an experience I’m going to use in my next fight.

“I always want to come out with the finish, but with the bad comes with the good, and I learned from that win. It’s (better) to learn from a win than a loss, so (it) was just a learning experience.”

That said, he’ll have the chance to get his first UFC finish when he fights Charles Byrd at UFC 235. Byrd, despite being 14 years older than Shahbazyan, has just one more fight in the UFC than his opponent, and he is most recently coming off a TKO loss to Stewart at UFC 228. Despite the age gap and the differing results against Stewart, Shahbazyan is still aware of the dangers Byrd presents.

Regardless of the opponent, Shahbazyan is eager to show off all that he learned in his UFC debut when he walks to the Octagon in the final early prelim on FIGHT PASS. Whether or not that’s a first-round finish like he’s used to or a full, 15-minute fight, he knows he has what it takes to remain undefeated.

“I’ve dreamed of this moment,” he said. “To be actually here in this moment, it’s a dream come true, and I just can’t wait to go out Saturday night and perform.”

Zac Pacleb is a writer and producer for UFC.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ZacPacleb.

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