by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com

Fight of the Night

The main
event for UFC 71 is Chuck Liddell taking on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for the
light heavyweight title, but the fight that may end up stealing the show
features two of the best welterweight fighters in the world when Karo “The Heat”
Parisyan takes on former Ultimate Fighter housemate, Josh “The People’s Warrior”
Burkman.   The 170 lb.
fighters were recently on MMAWeekly Radio to give their thoughts on the fight
and both have the welterweight title on their minds. 


Parisyan was slated to take on then welterweight champion Matt Hughes at UFC 56
in November of 2005, but due to a hamstring injury had to withdraw. Since then,
he has never been offered up another title shot, something that still irks him
to this day.


“The deal
is that I got injured when I was supposed to fight Matt (Hughes) and I got
injured pretty bad,” said Parisyan. 
“I had to come back and work my way back to fight for the title.  I lost my title shot and they said okay
you lost it and now you’ve got to work your way up, which I agreed with, I didn’t
really mind.   But St. Pierre
got injured, they gave him a couple of months, 2 or 3 months to recover, and he
came back and still fought for the title. 
I’m kind of disappointed about that.  It is what it is and I can’t change what it is, so I just
have to come back myself and stack up the wins, get back to the top and get my
title shot again.  For now, I have
a fight in a week and I’m going to try to take care of Josh Burkman and after
that we’ll worry about the title fight.”


Josh Burkman, never one to look past an opponent stated that he always has the
future in mind and a title shot would definitely be welcomed.


definitely think that the winner of this fight should be in title contention,”
Burkman stated during his interview with MMAWeekly Radio.  “In my view, when I watch the Diego
fight (vs. Karo Parisyan) I don’t think Karo lost the Diego fight, I think he
might have won the fight.  I mean
Karo’s already beaten the world champion, he’s beaten Matt Serra, so whoever
wins this fight definitely deserves a shot at the title.”


Matt Serra is something that definitely bodes well for Karo Parisyan if he is
able to get a victory over Burkman at UFC 71, something “The Heat” knows all
too well.


my cards are on the table, I fought Serra and I gave a pretty dominant win over
Matt Serra, and taking nothing away from him, he’s still a tough guy and he’s
the champ right now,” said a very confident Karo Parisyan.  “I just don’t want to retire one day
and Matt Serra was the champion in the UFC for one period and I wasn’t.  It makes me look good in a certain way,
but it does and it doesn’t because I want to be there and I want to have that
title around my waist and it takes a lot of commitment and Matt showed that
himself and he beat St. Pierre fair and square. They’ve got some animosity
between each other right now, but I’d like to take that title away from him.”


Burkman on
the other hand has been mired in controversy lately after an apparent late
night bar brawl including former UFC and Pride middleweight Phil Baroni. But
the former Ultimate Fighter competitor understands the biggest fight of his
career stands in front of him in the form of top ten welterweight fighter, Karo


“I think it’s
probably the biggest opportunity of my career yet.  Karo is definitely the most decorated fighter I’ve fought
and it’s on a huge stage.  It’s
definitely the biggest shot I’ve had and I think the winner of the fight gets
thrown into title contention,” said Burkman.


Karo Parisyan or Josh Burkman have ever shied away from talking about an
opponent if the moment is right, but both fighters seem to have the bout on
their minds and nothing but the utmost respect for each other.


“I don’t
like to disrespect my opponents, so I don’t want to say he’s a stepping stone,”
said Karo about Josh Burkman.  “I
mean Josh is a good athlete. He’s good in everything, not great at anything. He’s
one of those guys.  As far as him
being a threat, I don’t see it that much. 
I see Josh as a fighter. He comes in there to fight and he’s a good
athlete, but as far as skill wise, I think I have way more skill than he
does.  Anybody’s got a punchers
chance, but at the moment – and I’m not disrespecting Josh and I don’t
underestimate him at all – I’ve been training pretty hard for the
fight.  I don’t see him as a
stepping stone, I see him as another opponent, and I hope to see my arm raised
after the fight.”


Burkman has
very similar respect for Karo Parisyan and the brand of judo turned MMA that he
brings to the table. 


“I think we’re
both just focused on the fight.  I
think we both know we’re in for a war. 
I think everybody knows that. I think people need to run their mouths
and talk trash to hype their fights and I don’t think me and Karo need to do
that.  The fight speaks for itself,”
said Burkman.  “I’ve prepared to
try to block the throws and everything. 

I mean Karo doesn’t just have throws, he’s got good takedowns, he’s got
good trips, you know, he’s got everything.  So we’ve just done everything we can do to prepare ourselves
for whatever Karo is going to throw at us.”


previously mentioned, this bout has fight of the night written all over it.
This wouldn’t be the first time for Karo Parisyan to steal the spotlight off
the main event with his performance.


“I don’t
want to sound cocky, but I’ve stole a lot of shows before,” said the Armenian
born fighter.  “I was on the
undercard and I’ve stolen shows.  I
go to fight. I bring everything I have into a fight. I’m going to test Josh. I’m
going to stand in front of Josh because a lot of guys Josh has fought, they
really haven’t really pushed Josh, and I’m one of those guys because I will
push Josh and see where I can take him. Josh also comes to fight so look for
fireworks.  I’m going to unleash
everything I have on Josh Burkman.”



And while
many fighters seem to go out fit not to lose a fight, Josh Burkman always has
pleasing the crowd on his mind.


“I think
part of me always tries to put on a show,” said Burkman.  “If I was just going out there to win,
I don’t think I’d go out there and pick people up and slam them. I’d probably
just go for an easy little takedown. 
I feed off the crowd. When the crowd gets loud and gets hyped, I get
hyped.  I mean, not only am I a
fighter, but I’m an entertainer and I like to entertain the crowd.  I always have a little bit of that in
me that I want to put on a show.”


To hear the
rest of what Karo Parisyan had to say including a possible rematch with Diego
Sanchez or to see what Josh Burkman mentioned about his budding relationship
with a UFC ring girl, check out the archives for
MMAWeekly Radio and pick up a premium membership for only $5 a month.