Gamburyan aiming to be first to stop WEC champ

MMA: Local fighter knows he has work cut out for him, but is aiming to put a halt to Jose Aldo's reign.

September 21, 2010|By Grant Gordon,

GLENDALE — As the most monumental fight in Manny Gamburyan's career approaches fast, the tenacious mixed-martial-artist is clearly taking on the magnitude of his title opportunity and the task of facing World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion Jose Aldo straight on.

During a Monday conference call, Gamburyan didn't hesitate in proclaiming that he was confident he could upset Aldo — seen by most as a phenom in the sport as the 145-pounder is ranked by many as one of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world — but that he would have to be at his best to do so.

And, in contrast to the co-main event's participants, lightweight rivals Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone, Gamburyan and Aldo have boasted nothing but respect for each other en route to their Sept. 30 showdown in Broomfield, Colo., when they headline WEC: Aldo vs. Gamburyan.


"I respect him, but I'm gonna go out there and show the fans that anybody can be stopped," Gamburyan said. "I want to be the first guy to stop him."

At the same time, Gamburyan (11-4) realizes that's something that will be no small feat.

"I have to bring my 'A' game," he said.

A dynamic striker with a stellar submission background, Aldo (17-1) has won 10 fights in a row, his last seven under the WEC banner and has not lost since the end of 2005.

"Obviously, Jose Aldo has dominated the weight class," said WEC General Manager Reed Harris.

Gamburyan is also on a hot streak of his own, with three straight victories, all of them for the WEC. His last two were particularly notable as he decisioned Leonard Garcia in November of last year and then knocked out former featherweight champion Mike Brown in the first round of their April bout.

"He's absolutely done everything we've expected from him and more," Harris said.

Gamburyan came to the WEC after a five-fight tenure in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a sibling company of the WEC. A finalist on "The Ultimate Fighter," Gamburyan made a name for himself in the UFC, but his 5-foot-5 has clearly translated better into the WEC's 145-pound featherweight division.

"That was the best move I've made in my life," Gamburyan said. "Here I am fighting for the belt."

Just how big the fight is to Gamburyan, a black belt in judo, was evidenced when he compared the bout to his dream of competing for an Olympic medal in judo.

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