UFC lightweight Arman Tsarukyan has once again expressed his desire to share the Octagon with Gregor Gillespie, who he believes is “scared” to face him.
If Tsarukyan wasn’t on your radar as one of the hottest prospects in the UFC before UFC Vegas 49, he certainly is now. After falling to a loss on promotional debut to Islam Makhachev, the Armenian got back on track with three consecutive unanimous decision wins.
But now, Tsarukyan has returned to the finishing form that brought him 10 stoppages in his first 13 victories in professional MMA. After a first-round TKO victory over Christos Giagos last September, the 25-year-old hoped to impress even more in his first outing of 2022.
With some brutal elbows and a vicious second-round TKO against fellow young prospect Joel Álvarez, Tsarukyan did just that.
Now, having risen to #12 in the UFC lightweight rankings, Tsarukyan is looking ahead to his next challenge, with the goal being a place inside the divisional top 10. When discussing his next move post-fight, the two-time Performance of the Night winner had a familiar name on his lips.
Tsarukyan Sees Gillespie As Route To LW Top 10
Prior to his fight with Álvarez coming to fruition and after it became apparent a verbal feud with Dan Hooker wasn’t likely to reach the Octagon, Tsarukyan had his sights set on top-10 contender Gillespie.
With “The Gift” seemingly declining him as an opponent, Tsarukyan was forced to look elsewhere. But during his appearance at the UFC Vegas 49 post-fight press conference, the Armenian circled back to the decorated wrestler, calling him out and accusing the 34-year-old of being “scared.”
“You know, in our division, like, I wanna fight with top 10, but now everybody almost have fights, and just (Gregor) Gillespie doesn’t have fight. He is scared of me, you know? UFC offered me twice fights with him, and he doesn’t want fights. I don’t know what he wants, but I’d like fight with him because he’s number nine, it’s gonna be good fight, we both wrestlers. If I win him, it gets me close to title shot and top fighters.”
Tsarukyan previously made a Gillespie offer public. Last October, the 25-year-old took to Instagram to confirm he’d accepted an approach from the UFC to face “The Fisherman.” While he hadn’t answered at the time, the response evidently wasn’t the acceptance Tsarukyan was after.
Interestingly, Tsarukyan’s latest callout comes a few weeks after former UFC star Chael Sonnen claimed he’d been told Gillespie has a habit of rejecting fights.
While he didn’t possess evidence other than an apparent source, Tsarukyan’s failed attempts to make the matchup come together, as well as the veteran’s lengthy periods of inactivity, certainly supports Sonnen’s claims.
It remains to be seen whether the Armenian’s recent remarks will be met with a more positive response from the #9-ranked contender.
Would you like to see Arman Tsarukyan face Gregor Gillespie next?