by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
2005 was supposed to be a banner year for Karo Parisyan. After winning his third fight in a row in the UFC when he defeated Matt Serra at UFC 53, Karo was set to face off against Matt Hughes at UFC 56 for the Welterweight Championship.
Unfortunately an injury kept that match from happening and now Parisyan waits to see where he factors into the extremely stacked 170lb weightclass. While recovering from Injury Karo spoke to MMA Weekly to discuss where he’s at in recovery, his thoughts on Hughes’ fight with Joe Riggs, and what the future holds for the man nicknamed “The Heat.”
MMA Weekly: First off, for the fans that may not know what happened to you to keep you out of UFC 56, tell us about the injury.
Karo Parisyan: Well I was grappling, rolling around, like goofing around and I had kind of awkward position, the guy I was rolling with had my back and reached over my head to grab my foot to pull it out. As he pulled it out, so I’d fall on my butt, as he pulled it back my hamstring tore.
MMA Weekly: What kind of time frame did the doctors give you to when you’d return to fighting?
Karo Parisyan: The doctors say to stay off it a couple of months and it should be fine. I’m 80% okay, I still have another 20% to go because it’s still hurting, I’m still sore, but I should be okay within the next couple of months, so probably April.
MMA Weekly: What have you been doing since the injury?
Karo Parisyan: Basically I’m teaching privates, rolling real lightly, soon I’m going to start lifting weights again. I’ve had a lot of personal stuff on my mind the last couple of weeks so I’m trying to deal with that now.
MMA Weekly: When you return to action will you get your contractually signed title shot right away?
Karo Parisyan: I don’t think my next fight will be for the title, there’s a good chance I might have to fight again before I fight for the title. I don’t know, we’ll find out, but I’m sure I’ll have to have another fight before the title fight so we’ll see. First of all I didn’t want a title shot right off the bat, I want to see where I’m at before I fight for the title. I want a fight that hopefully I have a high percentage to win so I can get the title shot, but I don’t want to take an easy fight.
MMA Weekly: What did you think about the fight between Matt Hughes and Joe Riggs?
Karo Parisyan: I left right after that fight, I didn’t see the last two fights because I was so upset. I was supposed to be in there so I had a lot of people, like 1,000 people coming to see me fight and maybe it just wasn’t meant to be, I don’t know.
MMA Weekly: Do you feel you would have been able to work your way out of the position that Riggs was in at the end of the fight?
Karo Parisyan: First of all I don’t even think it would have gotten that far. Matt is very capable of finishing the kimura on anybody, don’t get me wrong, but I would have prevented that moment. I don’t think it would have been in our match for him to be in the position to be on top of me taking a kimura. Even if he was I wouldn’t have just laid on my back like Riggs did, I would have worked for something else or put him back in my guard. Joe’s not that good of a grappler, he’s good with his base and stuff, but he’s not that good with grappling. Matt came in really confident and did whatever he wanted to do right off the bat and took Joe down and made it easy for himself.
MMA Weekly: With so many great fighters in the welterweight division now, do you see yourself having to face off against the likes of Georges St. Pierre, BJ Penn, and others in the coming year?
Karo Parisyan: Definitely, one way or the other you’re going to face all the top guys if you’re a top contender. All you can do, you have no choice, is train and take it one guy at a time. You can’t sit there and say, “oh Sean Sherk, Georges St. Pierre, BJ Penn, blah, blah, blah, how am I going to deal with all these fighters that are trying to get me?” No, I’ll deal each and every one of them at a single time, one at a time. I know my style is unique to the styles they fight and that always gives me a chance. When you have the title you have a pretty big target and now that I was the #1 contender there are guys that want to beat me so they can use that to work their way for a title shot.
MMA Weekly: Is there anyone in particular you’d like to fight?
Karo Parisyan: Georges St. Pierre is an incredible guy, he’s a real nice guy and a great fighter. He annihilated Sean Sherk, which surprised me, but obviously he’s one of the best in the world. He’s one target I’m looking for because I’d love a rematch to avenge my loss to him. There’s Hughes, BJ, we’ll see, I’m not overwhelming myself to who I’m fighting, they should be doing that, not me.
MMA Weekly: Before you get your shot at the title there’s a chance Hughes could fight someone else and lose the belt. Does it matter who you fight for the title or do want to get a shot at Hughes himself?
Karo Parisyan: I don’t really care, well, I’ll tell you this, there’s a yes and a no (answer). In the beginning when I saw Matt first fight in the UFC I wanted to fight him because he was the best and I said to myself, “I want to beat this guy.” It was always one of my goals to fight Matt Hughes whether it was or wasn’t for a title. I got the title fight and I was extremely excited, I finally got a chance to fight Matt, it was going to be my time to shine, but I got injured. If St. Pierre beats Matt, I’m just as happy to fight St. Pierre because I lost to him and I’d love to fight him and regain that loss. Even if Sean Sherk would have won and fought for the title, I would have love to have fought him. Any of those guys would be a really good fight; I would love to fight any of them, so we’ll see.
MMA Weekly: There’s an incredible amount of shows the UFC is said to be producing this upcoming year. Are you prepared to possibly fight more next year than you have in previous ones?
Karo Parisyan: Yeah, whatever they throw at me. It’s going to be a very hectic 2006 for the UFC and all the fighters, they’re going to have a lot of shows and try to put us on them. You’d like to be able to fight and have some rest before you fight again but there’s a chance you may fight and not have any rest, so you’ve just got to brace yourself for a long year of fighting.
MMA Weekly: What kind of activity do you see yourself doing between now and when you’re ready to return to fighting?
Karo Parisyan: Well right now I’m taking seminars and stuff. About two and a half to three months before a fight I stop doing things and just concentrate on training for a fight. The last UFC when I was supposed to fight Matt I had so much stuff going on. I was jet-lagged from traveling back and forth, getting money for seminars, doing appearances here, training there, I was all over the place, that was one hectic time. I’ve got time until I fight again, four or five months, so I’ll have a few months to do seminars before I start hitting the gym for a fight.
MMA Weekly: Thank you for your time Karo. Is there anything you’d like to say to the fans as we head out?
Karo Parisyan: Basically I want them to know that I’ll be back. As I always say, don’t doubt Karo Parisyan whenever I fight, don’t ever blink, win or lose you’ll see something crazy. I’ll be back and I’ll show people a good fight and let them find out what kind of fighter I am.