Arman Tsarukyan OK waiting for Islam Makhachev, foresees record UFC title run

Arman Tsarukyan wants to set the record straight.

Yes, the UFC’s top lightweight prospect turned down a short-notice chance to face Islam Makhachev for championship gold next month at the Prudential Center.

Arman Tsarukyan (right) punches Charles Oliveira during their UFC 300 bout on April 13 in Las Vegas. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

Yes, Tsarukyan previously turned down the chance to face Makhachev and avenge his loss to the current champion in his UFC debut in 2019. Makhachev’s victory was a unanimous decision and was named Fight of the Night.

No, the Armenian-Russian said he wasn’t afraid of “three or four” chances in the rematch, as Makhachev told the Post last month.

When given the chance shortly after UFC 300 on April 13, he believed he was giving the champion too much of an edge, seven weeks removed from his most recent victory.

“No, it only happened once,” Tsarukyan said in a recent video call with the Post.

Tsarukian (22-3, 14 finishes), who earned an inside track to contend for the 155-pound belt with a split decision win over former champion Charles Oliveira last month, is scheduled to face Joel Alvarez in February 2022. He explained. The opening act of the event was headlined by Makhachev and Beneil Dariush.

When Dariush missed the fight due to injury, the UFC offered Tsarukyan the opportunity to jump in and face Makhachev for a second time.

However, Tsarukyan did not like the timing of the opportunity to face southpaw Makhachev after preparing for Alvarez, a fighter with an orthodox stance, and defeated the Spaniard by TKO in the originally scheduled bout.

In April 2024, Arman Tsarukyan defeated Charles Oliveira by decision.
Arman Tsarukyan defeated Charles Oliveira by decision in April. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

“They’re completely different fighters,” Tsarukyan said of Makhachev and Alvarez. “What do you want from me? ‘Oh, I’ll pay you good money for this and that.’ I said, ‘I’m not ready for this guy because my whole training camp was orthodox guys.'” [That] It was my first time, and it was my second time. [turning down a fight against Makhachev], this time. that’s it. “

When Tsarukyan heard Makhachev’s comments, he refuted the exaggeration. Especially since he’s eager to fight for the championship and plans to wait until after Makhachev defends his title for a chance at UFC gold. On June 1st, he faced Dustin Poirier in New Jersey.

That could be as early as October when the UFC returns to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where Makhachev has fought every October for the third year in a row.

But if Poirier finally wins the undisputed lightweight title that has long eluded him and narrowly eluded him twice, a rematch between the Newark headliners could force Tsarukian into a longer-than-expected holding pattern. There is.

And wait, he will.

“I’m going to wait for the title fight,” Tsarukyan said without hesitation about how he would handle such a scenario. “I know the UFC is going to give me that chance because they’re not bullshit. They’re going to give me a real fight.”

Tsarukyan has time. It’s a rare luxury at the top of the 155-pound weight class, traditionally considered one of the strongest of all MMA weight classes.

Tsarukyan, 27, is the only man under 30 among the top 11 contenders in the UFC rankings. Makhachev is 32 years old.

Tsarukyan, who turns 28 in October, is so young compared to his peers in the division that he believes a championship fight is inevitable and hopes to set a record.

“I’m going to be the longest champion in this world.” [155-pound] Tsarukyan was born in the Republic of Georgia to Armenian parents, but grew up and lives in Russia. “If I’m going to be a champion [at] 27 years old, maybe retiring [at]Around 33 years old [or] 34 years old.I want to be one of the best [155-pound] world fighter jets [ever], So I want to break all records. I think I can do it because I have time. Everyone in my department is very old. ”