While beating someone like Damir
might not move the needle in the eyes of the casual
fan, Arman
was well aware of the significance of his latest

Tsarukyan relied on takedowns and clinch work to end Ismagulov’s
19-bout professional winning streak in the
UFC Fight Night 216
co-main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas
on Saturday night. The American Top Team-trained Russian took his
opponent’s back in both the second and third rounds, but a finish
didn’t materialize.

“I felt like if I get his back I’m going to choke him right away
because I heard he doesn’t have good wrestling, grappling. But
today I understood he’s tough on the ground too, and it’s difficult
to hold him there,” Tsarukyan said at Saturday’s post-fight press
conference. “He was really good. Nobody stopped him or knocked him
out in the UFC. Nobody [beat] him in the UFC, and I’m the first guy
who beat him here. I think it’s a big fight for me and big name.
Yeah, he’s not in the Top 5 but he’s tougher than top

While both Tsarukyan and Ismagulov have crafted solid resumes
within the Las Vegas-based promotion, it has been difficult to find
fights against high-profile opponents who are above them in the

“Of course, it’s big business and they know I’m gonna beat the guys
in the Top 5,” Tsarukyan said. “Me and Damir, we don’t choose
opponents. For example, I think we have to fight with each other …
One day I’m going to fight with big names. Hopefully next fight
will be a big name.”

Tsarukyan is aiming high in that regard. Islam
, who defeated Tsarukyan in his UFC debut, is
scheduled to defend his belt against reigning 145-pound king
in February. In a perfect world, Tsarukyan has a
couple ideal matchups in mind as the title picture unfolds.

“My goal is to [beat] everybody the UFC gives me and it doesn’t
matter who it’s gonna be,” he said. “I would like to have my next
fight [against] Charles
or [Beneil] Dariush. Because I deserve to have a big
name. They don’t have a fight now and I’m ready.”

If the promotion comes through with a desired name, Tsarukyan says
he could make a relatively quick turnaround. But if it’s another
high-risk, low-reward type of fight like Ismagulov, he doesn’t mind

“I don’t get injured, I feel good,” Tsarukyan said. “I’m young and
I can cut weight. If the UFC offered me a big fight, I’m going to
be ready in two months. But if they’re going to offer me someone
from the top 15, I’m not going to fight.

“I’m going to wait like a little bit, improve my skills and go to
[American Top Team] to train with my coach, because last camp I had
in Thailand because I didn’t have a visa. He got mad. This time,
I’ve got to go to Miami, ATT, and train with him for a long time to
choke everybody. This time, I made some mistakes in grappling and
I’m going to improve it and we’re going to choke everybody.”

Regardless of what the future holds, Tsarukyan would like another
opportunity for a five-round fight. The first time around, he came
up short in a closely-contested unanimous decision loss to Mateusz
at UFC on ESPN 38 this past June. On Saturday, Tsarukyan
believes he could have put a finishing stamp on his victory over
Ismagulov with an additional two rounds.

“I am happy. Dominant every round. I wanted to finish him. I tried
to choke him, but he was tough. All the time I want to finish my
opponents…if I had five rounds for sure I would submit him,”
Tsarukyan said. “I didn’t have enough time. He got tired in the
third round, and I started to feel it. I tried to find a submission
but I couldn’t do it. I think I did a good job. I would like to
have 25 minutes. I already had that experience.

“I would like to have one more time because my last experience with
25 minutes, I made some mistakes. I started to go very fast like I
had three rounds, but I had five rounds. But I talked with my
coaches, I was very emotional that fight. But I would like to have
my next fight at five rounds because I know my conditioning is good
and I can make tired everybody and choke [them] to end the

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Arman Tsarukyan Wants More Five-Round Experience, Targets ‘Big Name’ Opponents