by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy of www.anvilmma.com)

Manvel “Manny” Gamburyan perhaps was once known best as Karo Parisyan’s cousin, but the past couple of years have certainly changed that. As many fans know, Manny competed in the lightweights only season of “The Ultimate Fighter” series coached by B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver.

Gamburyan put on a great showing during the series before finally succumbing to a shoulder injury in The Ultimate Fighter Finale against tough up-and-comer Nate Diaz. Diaz may have won the bragging rights that night, but there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that a healthy Gamburyan is going to be a force in the 155-pound class for years to come.

He joined MMAWeekly’s SoundOff radio show recently to discuss his upcoming bout with Nate Mohr at UFC 79 and to talk about how rehab to his injured shoulder and time away from the cage treated him.

This will be Gamburyan’s first fight back since he succumbed to the devastating injury against Diaz last June. Many fans are anxious too see him back in the mix.

Of his return, Gamburyan said, “I’m really happy that I’m back in the UFC again. It’s a lot of pressure on me to win … I can’t lose, especially after my very bad day with Diaz, so I have to do really good this time.”

He is a fighter at heart and loves competition, but this time he wants to get into the cage again for others as much as he does for himself… Gamburyan wants to get back out there and put on a great performance for all of his fans.

He said, “I love my fans. Without my fans, I’m nobody out here, dog. It’s just phenomenally crazy … I can’t wait to go out there again for my fans, period.”

Gaburyan is back, but the recovery road back into the cage was not an easy one. He went through some uncertainty as to whether or not he should have surgery on the shoulder or instead do aggressive rehab on it. In the end, he took the chance at rehab rather than the surgery, and so far, he has not regretted that decision. Fight night will be the true test, however.

“To be honest with you, it was like a nightmare sitting out and not fighting,” revealed Gamburyan. “Then I went to the doctor and he said that I needed surgery for sure, and then he said, ‘or you could rehab it for three months and it might get better, 50/50, or it might not.'”

One thing is certain; fans are ready to see the return of this talented lightweight. Gamburyan isn’t the type who is going to let down his fans if he has any say in it, and he said that he believes this fight will end with, “Hopefully a first round submission.”

Regardless of the outcome next Saturday, fans can certainly expect an entertaining fight anytime that Gamburyan steps into the cage.