For Carlos Adames, nothing has changed except the belt around his waist.

Adames was elevated from the WBC interim middleweight title-holder to outright champion last month. He makes his first title defense against Terrell Gausha on Saturday as part of the Gervonta Davis-Frank Martin undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Adames (23-1, 18 KOs) is currently undefeated at middleweight after a shocking upset loss to Patrick Teixeira for the WBO junior middleweight title in 2019. Since then, Adames, 30, has won five straight fights, four of which were at middleweight. Notable wins include a majority decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko and stopping former unified junior middleweight titleholder Julian Williams.

“I’ve always had that championship mentality,” Adames said. “So nothing has changed for me now that I am the world champion.”

Gausha (24-4-1, 12 KOs) is best known for his 2012 U.S. Olympic bid. Like Adames, Gausha, 36, started at junior middleweight but recently moved up to middleweight. Adames is confident that despite the resume Gausha has amassed throughout his career, he will be in for an opponent unlike any he has faced before.

“Gausha is an accomplished fighter who’s faced a lot of great opponents,” Adames said. “But he’s never been in the ring with Carlos Adames.”

Whether it was being promoted to outright champion or fighting on a big stage, Adames believes he is the best version of himself, and with a middleweight division in need of a star, Adames could be looking to fill the void.

“I’ve gone to another level in sparring and training camp,” Adames said. “Throughout camp, I’ve felt myself exceed all of the people I spar. That’s how I know that I’m ready for this fight.”