Ever since bursting onto the UFC scene with his impressive stint on “The Ultimate Fighter: Season 5”, Manny Gamburyan has had mixed success in the Octagon. Much like his cousin, former welterweight contender Karo Parisyan, Gamburyan has always been highly regarded for his elite Judo and freakish physical strength. Even as an undersized 155’er, Gamburyan was a handful for most lightweights to deal with.
A former WEC featherweight title contender, Gamburyan has gone 1-2 since returning to the UFC in 2011. At UFC 157, Gamburyan looks to smash his way back into the divisional top 10 when he meets Chad Mendes on the PPV portion of the card.
The main event will feature the UFC’s first ever female fight between champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Liz Carmouche. A longtime friend and training partner of Rousey’s, Gamburyan is beyond thrilled to compete on the same card as the Olympic Bronze medalist. In fact, he downright asked for it.
“I personally asked Dana White to be on the same card as Ronda Rousey. Ronda is my girl so this means a lot to me. We’ve trained together for many years and she’s a great athlete, a great training partner and a great friend,” Gamburyan told BJPenn.com Radio.
“Every time Ronda fights I get really nervous but she says the same thing to me. When I fight she goes ‘Manny, you’re making me cry here, you’re making me nervous’ so it’s [hard watching your friends fight]. She’s finishing everyone in the first round, it looks very easy but it’s not at all.”
Gamburyan is fresh off a unanimous decision victory over Michihiro Omigawa at UFC on FOX 4 that saw the Armenian snap a three-fight losing streak. For three rounds Gamburyan aggressively attacked Omigawa as if his own life were on the line. He didn’t get the finish but in 27 career bouts Omigawa has only been stopped twice and both occurred very early in his career.
Gamburyan is hungry to Judo slam his way back into the upper echelon of the featherweight division and a victory over Mendes will do just that. A product of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, Mendes has long been recognized as the perennial contender at 145 lbs.
“Chad Mendes is a gamer and he’s only ever lost to Jose Aldo. I got my hands full on the 23rd of February but I feel strong, healthy and I can’t wait to get that ‘W’,” Gamburyan said.
“He has really good wrestling but I’ve been training with a lot of Olympians and world champions to work on my wrestling and I’ll be ready to capitalize on any mistake he makes. I got power in my hands, good takedown defense and good submissions so I’m ready anywhere this fight goes.”
Ever since losing to Aldo last year in Brazil, Mendes has evolved into an absolute wrecking machine. The 27 year old was never known as a finisher but in his last two fights he was able to knock out his opponents in brutal fashion. Gamburyan isn’t scared though and it wasn’t long ago when he was on the receiving end of an Aldo beating either.
Three years ago, Gamburyan challenged Aldo at WEC 51 for the championship following a first round knockout over former champ Mike Brown. In his mind, Gamburyan was going to leave the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado that night as the featherweight champion of the world but it didn’t go as planned.
“I was so confident going into that Aldo fight and you could see I was doing well in the first round. I sat down and I told my corner ‘I got this fight, there’s nothing to worry about’ but Aldo is tricky,” Gamburyan said.
“I would love to fight him again one day but first I’ve got a tough fight coming up against Chad Mendes. One day hopefully I can get a title shot again because I’ve been working very hard.”
Perhaps one day we will see Gamburyan challenge Aldo once again for the title. If he gets past Mendes and continues his winning ways it could absolutely happen in the near future. As for the here and now, Aldo has a dance partner and will defend his crown against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar this Saturday night at UFC 156. Gamburyan believes Edgar is one of the very best in the world and is hoping to step into the Octagon with him one day.
“Frankie Edgar was the champion in a stacked 155 lbs division so that says a lot. Honestly, when I heard he was dropping down to 145 lbs I wanted to call Dana and ask for that fight. Not to disrespect Frankie but I would love to scrap with that guy,” Gamburyan said.
“I think he’s a phenom and pound-for-pound Frankie Edgar is the second best fighter in the world. I want to wish Frankie luck, Jose Aldo is a top notch fighter so this is going to be two beasts going at it. I’ll definitely be tuning in to this fight and I might learn something.”
To listen to the full interview you can do so below:BJPenn.Com Radio, bjpenndotcomradio, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo, Liz Carmouche, manny gamburyan, mma, MMA NEWS, Ronda Rousey, ufc, ufc 157, ufc news