While Tsarukyan’s devastating knockout win over Beneil Dariush will undoubtedly go down as a career highlight, much of the headlines leading up to Saturday’s show were centered on a Tsarukyan’s confrontation with Bobby Green at the fighter hotel earlier in the week. Green posted on social media that Tsarukyan and associates had confronted him at the hotel and footage of the encounter later surfced, which included Tsarukyan grabbing at Green’s throat and Green brawling with members of Tsarukyan’s team.
Tsarukyan was asked about the Green drama and he admitted that seeing Green get KO’d amused him.
“He was talking s*** about me,” Tsarukyan said at the evening’s post-fight press conference. “I just came and asked him, ‘Bro, don’t talk s*** about me.’ Because where I’m from you can’t just talk, you’ve got to answer for your words. So that’s why I just wanted to tell him don’t talk s*** about me, because if you’re going to talk s***, we’ve got to meet and talk. So he pushed me, I pushed him, and that’s it. Done. Hopefully I’m not going to see him again in my life.
“I was super, super happy when his head was bouncing on the canvas.”
It’s unlikely that anything Green said or did could do anything to shake the 27-year-old lightweight’s confidence, at least if Tsarukyan’s main event performance is anything to go by. Tsarukyan walked through the more experienced Dariush, crushing him with a right hand to record his third straight win and his eighth in his past nine fights.
Tsarukyan credits his preparation for his strong mindset.
“Maybe I was born confident,” Tsarukyan said. “To be honest, I train a lot. I train in the best gym with the best fighters in the world and I feel like I’m the best, that’s why I’m confident. I saw a lot of Armenian flags and I thought, oh my God, that gives me different emotions. I was very calm and when I saw my guys around me I said, ‘No way someone can beat me tonight so I’m going to die or win.’”
Afterward, Tsarukyan called for a fight with either lightweight champion Islam Makhachev or top contender Justin Gaethje. It’s unlikely that Tsarukyan gets a title shot next, but the Makhachev callout is understandable given their history. A then-22-year-old Tsarukyan made his UFC debut against Makhachev in April 2019 and lost a decision, a result that he doesn’t expect to repeat itself should they meet again.
“I always think of the best-case scenario and I feel like I can knock [Makhachev] out in the first round,” Tsarukyan said. “We’ve got to think about the best, we shouldn’t think about the worst situation.”