Edmen Shahbazyan proud to have battled through adversity in KO of AJ Dobson at UFC on ESPN 53

LAS VEGAS – Edmen Shahbazyan is happy he got his hand raised Saturday, but he’s extra happy for the way it happened.

The middleweight knocked out AJ Dobson on the main card of UFC on ESPN 53 at the UFC Apex to bounce back from a TKO in May 2023. It was a solid showing from Shahbazyan (13-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC), but a rocky one, too, since he had been wobbled by Dobson (7-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC) prior to getting the KO finish.

Being able to come back from adversity and show resilience was important for Shahbazyan.

“I thought it was a good performance,” Shahbazyan said at the UFC on ESPN 53 post-fight press conference. “Battling through adversity is something that I kept telling myself: ‘Whatever happens, I’m going to go in there and battle through it whatever happens, and I’m going to come out with the win’ – and ultimately that’s what happened.

“I’m always kill or be killed in there. I’m glad I took this time off from my last fight to make some improvements and get better. After the fight was done, I’m like, ‘Damn, I can keep going.'”

Years ago, Shahbazyan was undefeated and regarded as one of the best prospects in the sport. However, he was stopped by veteran Derek Brunson in 2020 and went on a rough 2-4 run.

Shahbazyan wants a smarter approach to his career and thinks all those setbacks, as well as wins, have served to make him a better fighter.

“When I was younger, I was just ridding the hype, ridding the storm and just keep getting the finishes,” Shahbazyan said. “I was on that train. But right now, I’m more mature, I’ve learned from my wins and losses – they’re all experience learners like the fight I just had right now. I got caught with a right hand. I’m going to go back, see the mistake, work on it and get better. I’d say it’s experience and maturity that I developed from all those fights.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 53.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie