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Manny Gamburyan ready to face off with 'TUF' teammate Cole Miller

Mixed martial arts: Glendale-trained grappler takes on former 'The Ultimate Fighter' teammate Saturday at UFC Fight Night.

August 15, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • File Photo: Glendale-trained MMA fighter Manny Gamburyan will take on former teammate from "The Ultimate Fighter" Cole Miller Saturday in a three-round featherweight bout as part of UFC Fight Night 26  Shogun vs. Sonnen at the TD Garden in Boston.
File Photo: Glendale-trained MMA fighter Manny Gamburyan… (Courtesy of Josh…)

Roughly six years ago, Manny Gamburyan and Cole Miller were teammates on “The Ultimate Fighter,” helping to usher a revitalized lightweight division into the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Looked back upon as a season full of crazy highlights and talented fighters, the fifth season of the reality show berthed the UFC careers of Gamburyan, who trains at the Glendale Fighting Club, as well as Miller.

Now, the two find themselves as opponents who will toe the line Saturday in a three-round featherweight bout as part of UFC Fight Night 26 — Shogun vs. Sonnen at the TD Garden in Boston.

“Kind of excited to fight this guy,” said Gamburyan, whose fight will be the third of the card and streamed live on Facebook, which begins at 1:35 p.m. PST. “He was on my team, we trained together.

“We slept in the same house for six weeks.”

But neither Gamburyan (12-7) or Miller (19-7), who were coached by Jens Pulver on the show, is selling the fight as a matchup between two close friends, as both are more than happy to throw hands with their former cast mate.

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“I’m friendly and cordial with Manny,” Miller said. “We talk and we fraternize when we see each other, but it’s not like I call him on Christmas.

“We were teammates, I like the guy, but this is one of those sports where you have to fight guys you like.”

Added Gamburyan: “It’s not like I’m best friends with the guy. He’s just one of the guys in front of me.”

It’s an attitude and mindset that Gamburyan’s trainer and corner man, Edmond Tarverdyan of GFC, likes to see from his fighter.

“I like Manny's attitude, he has that mentality of, ‘[Expletive deleted] you! We’re fighting,’” Tarverdyan said. “He’s been doing this a long time, he’s knows he’s not going there to make friends.”

“The Ultimate Fighter 5,” headlined by coaches Pulver and BJ Penn, included current UFC talents Gray Maynard, Nate Diaz, Joe Lauzon and Matt Wiman. Gamburyan advanced to the finals, where he lost to Diaz after he dislocated his shoulder. But despite training and living together, Gamburyan, 32, and Miller, 29, realize that was 2007 and both have developed their games while dropping from lightweight (155 pounds) to featherweight (145).

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