by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
After a disappointing split decision loss to Thiago Tavares at UFC 94, “The Ultimate Fighter” 5 runner-up Manny Gamburyan confirmed his drop to the featherweight division from his previous home at lightweight.
“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.
“There are a lot of good guys at 145 also,” he said. “Mike Brown, Leonard Garcia, Urijah Faber, Jens Pulver. But I think my ability to drop to 145 – I’m going to be a lot stronger, and quicker. At 155, my technique is my advantage, because the day I’m fighting, I’m 160, 162. The guys are outweighing me by at least 20 pounds every fight, so I don’t think that’s fair.”
Gamburyan does not have a date for his WEC debut, but expects to fight in May or June, depending on the promotion’s schedule.
“I’ve never been this excited in my life,” he said.