Although Armenian-American fighter Jared Papazian did not come out with a win against Mike Easton in his UFC debut back in January of this year, you certainly can't blame it on Octagon jitters. After a three-round war that made a strong case for Fight of the Night honors, Papazian fell short, as judges scored it for "The Hulk" with a majority decision.
While "The Jackhammer" is a relative newcomer to the promotion, Papazian turned pro in 2008 and has had plenty of experience in the ring, as the former King of the Cage Bantamweight titleholder, he is 2-1 in title fights.
"Some people haven't even done five fives ever, even in training preparing for a fight. I've done it three times in live fights, and every time I've done it, I've gotten better at it.
"I have a lot of cage experience, a lot of ring time, and I think that played a factor (in my Octagon debut). Some people come in 'oh my God, it's the big show, I've never fought on a big stage like this before,' and they freak out and they freeze. I do the complete opposite. When I fought in the smaller shows, I didn't want to make a mistake because I wanted to get to the UFC. Now I'm in the UFC, so I don't have to feel pressure. Now I can just have fun."
Along the same vein, fans shouldn't expect Papazian to alter his fighting style to a more conservative and technical approach in an attempt to extend his run in the Octagon.
"When I was in smaller shows, I pretty much got Fight of the Night every single time if they had a bonus. That's what I do – I come to fight. I don't lay and pray, and if you want to compare me to a fighter, I have the same philosophy as (UFC Featherweight) Leonard Garcia when it comes to style in the 135-pound division. That's how I would see myself. He always brings it, and I'm the same way… I'm a fighter at heart, and I just like to fight; I don't like to run around."
The California-based fighter Papazian takes on TUF vet, Dustin Pague this Friday, June 8 at UFC on FX in a bantamweight tilt on the prelims on Fuel TV, with coverage starting at 6 PM EST.
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