Time moves fast. Sometimes so fast we can’t take a minute to be in the moment. But if we manage to pause and pay attention, novelty awards our reflection. The fighting game is no different. MMA is a constant conveyor belt of elegant limb art expressed through curated violence.
It’s hard to see through the chaos but if we allow our vision to adjust like a Magic Eye then we see a guy like Edmen Shahbazyan form out of the blurred colors of combat. We tried to tell you to remember his name, but if you haven’t seen Shahbazyan bloom in the Octagon then you should stop and watch the roses knock out people.
At only 22-years old, his accomplishments would fill up most of this article. He’s undefeated, 10 finishes (9 KOs and 1 submission all in the first round) with only a single decision, just cracked the top 10 in the UFC middleweight rankings, and in August he’ll make his main event debut.
In the first fight news ever to break during a coronavirus puppy road trip, our own Ronda Rousey announced with Dana White that Shahbazyan will return to finally face Derek Brunson. After being delayed twice, turns out the third time really is the charm as the fight will now headline the August 1st event at the UFC Apex.
“Little Ed. He’s been special. We always call him Neo. He’s the one. He’s that first generation of the kids who only did MMA,” Ronda told White. “He was my throwing dummy for my Carmouche workout. He was 15-years old and still bigger than me. He learned armbars from me. He was at the gym at a very pivotal time. His brother and he would show up with 10th Planet books. Completely obsessed. Never seen a kid more obsessed.”
Shahbazyan’s infamous obsession has no doubt paid off. He’s a consistent prospect that has solidified his place in the storm of talent swirling in the UFC. Now in less than two weeks, he’ll get a chance to prove what he’s been proving for the last three years: He’s the future and the future is now if you stop to watch it happen.