Ronda Rousey has known Edmen Shahbazyan since he was a teenager and she believes he is a special talent.
Shahbazyan is set to collide with Derek Brunson in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 31. The action will take place inside the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The middleweight scrap was promoted to the main event slot after Irene Aldana tested positive for COVID-19, forcing a delay in her planned bout with Holly Holm.
Ronda Rousey Praises ‘Special’ Edmen Shahbazyan
Speaking to UFC president Dana White, Rousey discussed her history with Shahbazyan and talked about how serious he took training in MMA even at the age of 15 (h/t BJPenn.com).
“Little Eddie, he’s always been special. He’s always been called Neo (from ‘The Matrix’). He’s the one. He’s one of the first generation of kids who only did MMA. He was obsessed with MMA when I was training with the gym. He was actually like my throw-in dummy for my open workout (before the Liz Carmouche fight at UFC 157. He was 15 years old, he was like still like bigger than me. But like he was one of my training partners. He learned armbars by me. He got beat up by me,” Rousey said.
Up to this point, Shahbazyan has garnered a pro MMA record of 11-0. He is coming off a finishing victory over Brad Tavares in the first round. The 22-year-old has only gone the distance once as a pro.
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