‘Primed’ Arman Tsarukyan and Islam Makhachev Certified to Share No ‘Bad-Blood’ as Ex-UFC Double Champ Outlines Lightweight Divisions’ Future

Published 12/04/2023, 6:50 AM EST

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Arman Tsarukyan announced himself to the UFC’s lightweight division with his devastating knockout of veteran Beneil Dariush last night at UFC Austin. The much-awaited main event bout between the #4 ranked Dariush and #8 ranked Tsarukyan lasted all of 64 seconds before Tsarukyan knocked out the latter with a massive right hand after narrowly missing him with a knee up the middle.

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After his spectacular win, he wasted no time and called for a fight against lightweight champion Islam Makhachev next. Former two-division UFC champion and Makhachev’s friend Daniel Cormier thinks the Armenian-Russian has made a very compelling case for a title shot.

‘DC’ on Tsarukyan’s title shot chances

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In a video posted on his YouTube channel after the event, Cormier spoke about the Austin card. The UFC commentator was very impressed with Arman Tsarukyan’s performance. Cormier felt that since Tsarukyan had fought and lost to Makhachev at UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Oleinik back in 2019, both fighters have evolved and gotten better as fighters. ‘DC’ felt that the 27-year-old wanted to take the next step and fight the Dagestani, but still had a lot of respect for Makhachev.

“Look, him and Islam fought a long time ago. Islam is a completely different fighter today, and so is Arman… Arman seems to be primed and ready to step up to the challenge. The dude’s special, he’s very special and the thing about it is he respects Islam. It’s not like these guys have bad blood or anything. It’s all respect but this guy as a competitor wants an opportunity to fight the best fight in the world,” Cormier said.

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Cormier was all-in on the Tsarukyan hype train and said that while he will probably not get a title shot next, he was excited to see him fight. “He said ‘Islam is a next-level fighter’ but he goes ‘I am a next-level fighter also’ and honestly, when you put up performances like that, it’s hard to argue. Whatever happens next for Arman Tsarukyan, I’m all in on it,” the New Orleans native added.

UFC boss Dana White has indicated that former champion Charles Oliveira will face the lightweight champion for his next title defense. And with #2 ranked lightweight and BMF title holder Justin Gaethje in the wings, we may likely see the two fight to become the next title contender.

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Tsarukyan may have to face Gaethje for no. 1 title contender status

After defeating the #4 ranked Dariush, Tsarukyan has a strong case for a title shot in the near future. The Armenian-Russian will move up in the rankings to at least #4 or #3, given he has defeated #4 ranked Dariush; and #3 ranked Dustin Poirier last fought in July and lost to Gaethje. This is why it is being speculated Tsarukyan might face #2 ranked Justin Gaethje in a title eliminator next to officially become the no. 1 title contender. The winner of their bout may get a shot at the winner of Makhachev-Oliveira.

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Another, albeit much more remote, possibility is that he might get a shot directly without having to go through Gaethje or Poirier, but that seems quite unlikely. Another variable in Tsarukyan’s title shot equation is that Makhachev might fight for the welterweight title soon if Colby Covington defeats champion Leon Edwards at UFC 296. Makhachev has expressed his desire to become a double-champ, and Covington has promised to give him the opportunity to do so if he wins against Edwards. Whatever the case may be for Makhachev after the Oliveira rematch, one thing seems certain- Tsarukyan looks to be one or two steps away from a title shot at the moment.

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Written by:

Kanishk Thakur

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One take at a time

Hi, I am Kanishk and I am a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. I love telling the stories of these magnificent fighters and this wildly unpredictable sport that is so frustrating and yet so joyous at the same time. I never really used to watch MMA, thinking it too crude or brutal a sport to deserve respect.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen

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