What’s more on his mind is getting back on track in a middleweight division bursting with contenders and featuring an active champion in Israel Adesanya. At the rate “The Last Stylebender” likes to fight, two or three wins in a row could put Shahbazyan right within shouting distance of the champion. 

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He isn’t in a rush, though, which is why he decided to spend the last nine months mostly in the background working on his game instead of jumping right back into another fight. The “necessary” time off included a bit of a break from social media and an uptick in intensity when he gets to the gym to “fine-tune” his skills. That said, he does have a preference when it comes to sharpening his tools, and he’s hopeful that the time away from the spotlight and in the gym sets him back up for a big run starting on May 22.

“Through actual fights, that’s how you get the best experience,” he said. “I would definitely love to stay active. With a win over Jack, I would love to stay active after that and keep improving, keep getting experience, and fighting, fighting, fighting, and challenging myself.”