Top UFC lightweight contender Arman Tsarukyan just decided to compete in NAGA Los Angeles on October 1st, 2023 and he managed to come away with a gold medal and a belt from the tournament. He got them as a result of winning an expert no gi division at the tournament, and he competed a little higher than his MMA fighting weight. Tsarukyan entered the middleweight (180lbs) division and he ran through the opposition, submitting all three of his opponents in the bracket in order to win gold.
Tsarukyan is far from the first MMA veteran to compete in a NAGA tournament and in fact, he’s in some pretty incredible company. Undefeated lightweight world champion Khabib Nurmagomedov won the NAGA world championship all the way back in 2012, while former UFC light-heavyweight and reigning heavyweight world champion Jon Jones even competed at a NAGA event early in his career as well. Although the field of competition is generally populated by your average practitioner, it’s not uncommon for highly skilled grapplers like this to take to the mats at a NAGA event.
It’s too early to tell if Tsarukyan is destined for the same level of success in professional MMA as Nurmagomedov and Jones, but he’s already put in some fantastic performances. He’s been a UFC fighter since 2019 and he’s managed to put together a 7-2 promotional record, taking his full professional record to 20-3. His only losses in the UFC have come against some seriously impressive opposition too, as he dropped a decision to reigning lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in his debut and another decision to ADCC veteran Mateusz Gamrot in 2022. As he currently sits comfortably within the top 10 of the lightweight division, it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here in the next few years.
NAGA uploaded the footage of the first match that Arman Tsarukyan had at their Los Angeles event to their official Instagram account: