Manny Gamburyan. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
After suffering an injury in the finals of the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show and losing three out of his five UFC bouts, Manny Gamburyan will now be making the switch to World Extreme Cagefighting where he he will compete as a featherweight:
Gamburyan says that the move may only be temporary, but he is still excited for the prospects of fighting at in a lighter weight class. His WEC debut is expected to come in either May or June:
“I don’t know if the cut is going to be hard or easy – I haven’t made 145 in almost 10 years – but I’m going to do it in a good way,” he told MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday. “I’m going to put together a beautiful training (camp).”
Last summer, Gamburyan said UFC co-owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta wanted him to make the leap to the WEC’s marquee division after taking on Rob Emerson at UFC 87. But Gamburyan lost, and revised the plan. He would defeat Tavares, challenge two fighters he felt he had unfinished business with (likely Nate Diaz and Sean Sherk), and cut the weight.
The decision to move the 27-year-old was made shortly after the Jan. 31 fight against Tavares. Gamburyan plans on fighting as a lightweight again, but there are plenty of opportunities in the WEC.
The move was a great one by Gamburyan, who has a tremendous skill set, but always came into his fights in the UFC at a disadvantage because of his lack of size for the lightweight division. I wouldn’t expect him to be thrown in against the WEC’s top dogs at 145 lbs right off the bat, but a couple of wins will move him into title contention.