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  • Manny Gamburyan to Make 135-Pound Debut Against Cody Gibson at UFC 178

    Once a lightweight competitor on The Ultimate Fighter 5, Manny Gamburyan is set to move down to the bantamweight division.

    According to GlendaleNewsPress.com, Gamburyan is now booked to meet Cody Gibson at 135 pounds on September 27. The bout is likely headed to the preliminary card at UFC 178, a stacked event that will be held in Las Vegas.

    Yup @ufc 178 it is September 27th big card big :) bantamweight debut #135 #MGM #LasVegas @TheDolceDiet 👊

    — Manny Gamburyan (@MannyGamburyan) August 2, 2014

    Gamburyan's decision to drop down a weight class comes on the heels of a loss to Nik Lentz. The Anvil would be on a two-bout losing skid, but a December 2013 loss to Dennis Siver was overturned to a no contest due to his opponent failing his drug screening.

    Even with the loss to Siver being reversed, Gamburyan has posted a 2-3 record since returning to the UFC roster. So, the Armenian needed to make some changes to return to title contention, where he was during his WEC days.

    Ultimately, it was nutritionist Mike Dolce who convinced Gamburyan to make the move to 135 pounds. It's not likely to be an effortless transition, but Gamburyan is confident he can make the weight, and it's hard to doubt him, as he never had any serious issues hitting 145 pounds.

    “Is it gonna be an easy cut? No. It’s gonna be 30 pounds,” Gamburyan said. “But I can make it.”

    The former WEC title challenger got his UFC start in the 155-pound division, where he was a TUF runner-up due to a shoulder injury suffered in his finals matchup against Nate Diaz in June 2007. After recording a 2-3 record in the promotion's lightweight division, Gamburyan moved to 145 pounds and joined the WEC ranks.

    With three straight wins under the WEC banner, Gamburyan earned a shot at the featherweight championship. However, Jose Aldo knocked him out in the second round. Following his loss to Aldo, Gamburyan rejoined the UFC with the WEC merger. Now, at 33 years old, The Anvil is hoping one more change of scenery can take him to the top.

    “This is it, I can’t go down anymore,” Gamburyan laughed. “I promise you, I can’t make 125.”

    Gamburyan's UFC 178 adversary, Gibson, is not as seasoned. At 26 years old, Gibson has only two UFC fights under his belt. That said, The Renegade is promising and is coming off of a knockout victory over Johnny Bedford.

    This could be the beginning of something big for Gamburyan. Then again, he could fall flat against Gibson and end up in danger of being released from the UFC roster. We'll have to wait until next month to see how the 135-pound division treats Gamburyan.

    Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

  • Anderson Silva Focused on Return to Octagon, Not Nick Diaz or Titles

    Business as usual.

    That is the theme for Brazilian middleweight fighter Anderson Silva, though the truth is that life is anything but business as usual. Silva, who suffered a horrendous leg break last December in a fight against current middleweight champion Chris Weidman, is now in the early throes of preparing for return to the cage he dominated for so many years.

    Silva's much-anticipated fight against Nick Diaz won't happen until late January. But given the way he went out against Weidman—on his back, clutching his leg and screaming—questions regarding his health are of paramount importance. Silva addressed the questions during a Friday conference call with myself and reporters and said he's not back to full strength just yet but will be once he steps in the cage.

    "My leg is at 95 percent," Silva said. "It will be 100 percent by the time I fight Nick Diaz."

    Silva vs. Diaz is a sublime bit of matchmaking prowess on the part of the UFC. A year ago, it was an unthinkable fight. Now, both fighters are coming off consecutive losses. Both fighters have plenty to gain, but they have nothing to lose, either. It is an easily sold fight for the UFC, and the fireworks in the cage should deliver in spades.

    "It's going to be excellent for the fans," Silva said. "We both have not stepped in the Octagon for a while. Nick is a guy that walks forward and likes his boxing. If he stands with me, the fans can expect a great fight."

    Silva was not interested in discussing his losses to Weidman. He was not interested in discussing his future, either, outside of noting that he has seven fights remaining on his current UFC deal. His focus is not on becoming champion again, though he will fight for the belt if he is put in a position to do so once again.

    "Right now, it's not my priority. If I have the credentials to fight for the title, I'll be more than glad to do it," he said. "At this point, I want to feel my legs walking and my movement. My main priority is to see how I perform. "

    Silva never gave any thought to retirement after the fight. No serious thoughts, anyway. But his family wasn't happy when he made the decision to return to the Octagon.

    "But they respect my wish, and they are coping with it," he said.

    Silva said that his doctors have not placed any limitations on what he can and cannot do in training. He has a steel rod in his leg, placed there during surgery following the injury, and the rod will remain there for the foreseeable future. Silva said that he wasn't overly concerned when he began throwing his first kicks after the broken leg, though there was a bit of a translation issue as pointed out by Guilherme Cruz from MMAFighting.com:

    Silva reiterated that, if Diaz chooses to stand and fight him, the result could be one of the greatest bouts in UFC history. It is hard to disagree, though it is also hard to imagine a scenario where Diaz comes out victorious. Silva is a healthy 4-1 favorite over Stockton's favorite son, but there are questions surrounding his chin. Is Silva too old to do this any more? Can he resume his streak of dominance against a fighter seemingly tailor-made for a brilliant knockout?

    Right now, Silva is focused solely on the process and on finishing the long journey that started in December.

    "I'm just dying to return to the Octagon and do the thing I most love in my life," he said. "That's what I want right now."

    Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

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