Second String:

Will Gamburyan get the WEC title shot he deserves?

May 06, 2010|By Grant Gordon

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

— Mark Twain

Manny Gamburyan is 5 feet, 5 inches. He’s easy to overlook.

Not long after the most monumental victory in his mixed martial arts career, he was still getting overlooked, despite the fact that he has most assuredly earned himself a shot at championship glory.


When Gamburyan knocked former World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight titlist Mike Thomas Brown from consciousness with a ruinous, counter right hook on pay-per-view April 24 there were abundant storylines.

Gamburyan, though seen as a top-10 fighter in the featherweight class, had pulled off a significant upset in besting Brown, who had at one time been the top dog in their weight class and had also previously been viewed as one of the top-10 pound-for-pound MMA fighters in the world.

Stunning as the outcome might have been for some, the biggest surprise was the fashion in which it came, as Gamburyan, though striking coach Roma Kalantaryan has long warned of his heavy hands, was not viewed as a dangerous striker. And most who predicted a Brown victory prognosticated he would carry it out in devastating knockout form.

On top of all of that was that the Armenian-born Gamburyan’s big win came on April 24, the day recognized as the start of the Armenian Genocide.

But in the aftermath of Gamburyan’s triumph, it seemed that much of the MMA world was concentrating on Brown losing the fight rather than Gamburyan winning it.

Word of personal problems and a training camp that might or might not have been adversely affected by them played out as possible excuses for Brown’s loss and took away, at least a bit in the public eye, some of the pomp and circumstance of Gamburyan’s triumph. To Brown’s credit, just as he did following his title loss to reigning WEC featherweight king Jose Aldo, he manned up, giving no excuses, even going as far to say that Gamburyan, the judo practitioner known for his grappling game, hit him harder than he had ever been hit.

But amid all that, all of the talk regarding Aldo involved him perhaps moving up to lightweight or down to bantamweight with talk that he had “cleaned out” the WEC’s featherweight ranks after his April 24 dismantling of Urijah Faber, the WEC’s marquee name.

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