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In March of 2011, just four months before his 24th birthday, Jon Jones finished Shogun Rua and became the youngest champion in UFC history.
While it’s been nearly a decade that has gone by since that time, we rarely make it a year without hearing about the next young fighter who has aspirations of beating that record.
At just 22 years old, it would be reasonable to say that Edmen Shahbazyan has the best chance of any current fighter. Not only does he have almost an entire year to accomplish the goal, but the UFC’s 9th ranked middleweight headlines this weekend’s UFC card from the Apex with a real chance to catapult himself up the rankings. According to the youngster, he believes that’s exactly what’s on the way.
“If I continue the way I’m going, that youngest championship title will come sooner than ever,” Shahbazyan said. “I don’t have something like on my phone, the deadline or anything like that, but I know I have until next July. So next July it’ll be the time to be the youngest champion.”
With the prospect looming, Shahbazyan is faced every day with questions about what he thinks about this middleweight or that one. Although he’s adamant that he’s focused on the task ahead of him, which is a three round bout with Derek Brunson, he does have some opinions on the scheduled title fight at 185lbs.
“I think Adesanya will take it,” he offers. “I think he’ll counter him and catch Costa with some type of counter. I think he’s a little more slick.”
Which of course raises the question of just how good Shahbazyan thinks Adesanya is and how long he’ll be champion. In short, he’s impressed, but only so much so.
“If everything goes the way it’s supposed to go, I think Adesanya will be a fun matchup,” he said. “I think he’ll be the champion until I come.”