Number one WEC featherweight contender Manny Gamburyan is lacking no confidence heading into his first title shot against champion Jose “Junior” Aldo. Aldo is a wrecking machine at 145lbs. and has looked unstoppable throughout most of his career and certainly during his tenure in the WEC. None of this matters to Gamburyan, however, as the Armenian-born judoka recently told MMAFighting.com that he relishes his role as the underdog and fully believes in his chances against Aldo.
“I get excited when I hear that. I love being the underdog,” Gamburyan said. “That’s how it was when I fought Mike Brown too, right? I wasn’t supposed to win that either, right? I’m something like a 6-1 underdog. That’s better for my fans and my friends, because now they can bet on me and make lots of money.”
Gamburyan earned his shot against Aldo by knocking out former champion Mike Thomas Brown in the first round of their WEC 48 meeting this past April in another bout where he was considered a sizeable underdog. “The Pitbull” sees this bout with Aldo the same way, and even warned of using one of the champ’s trademark techniques (a flying knee) against him to steal the belt.
“People thought I couldn’t stand with Mike Brown too,” Gamburyan said. “But I’ve worked a lot of my boxing. I knew I had a chance to knock him out, and that’s what I did. When I fight, you should expect anything and everything. I won’t be surprised if I knock [Aldo] out with a jumping knee.”
The former UFC lightweight fighter told MMAFighting that he sees holes in Aldo where others see perfection and pointed to MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko’s recent loss as evidence that anyone can be defeated.
“He has a lot of holes,” Gamburyan said. “His stand-up is pretty good, but he makes a lot of mistakes. I’m just going to go in there and try and capitalize on those.”
He added, “We all saw what happened to Fedor. Nobody expected him to get caught in a triangle choke and armbar at the same time. But it happens. A fight’s a fight. Everybody’s beatable, nobody’s invincible.”
Gamburyan will challenge for Aldo’s belt tonight at WEC 51, which takes place at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado.