(Man, could you imagine if he was like four feet closer to his opponent when he threw that punch? Devastating. / Photo via MMAWeekly)
When you think about it, it is really remarkable how successful and durable UFC featherweight Manny Gamburyan has been in his MMA career considering how many serious and ill-timed injuries he’s sustained. The Armenian judoka lost TUF 5 after suddenly injuring his shoulder during the finals against Nate Diaz and has been sidelined multiple times since then.
Well it happened again, just two weeks before another crucial fight for him. SI‘s Melissa Segura first reported via twitter earlier today that Gamburyan has pulled out of his scheduled UFC 157 fight against fellow top featherweight contender Chad Mendes, due to a broken thumb and fractured elbow. Gamburyan later confirmed the report to MMAJunkie.
“I just want to apologize to the fans and (UFC President) Dana White and the UFC. I’ve been training really hard. We’ll fight down the road for sure. My team was the main event, and we’ve been training together for many years, and I really wanted to be part of it too,” Gamburyan said, referring to his teammate Ronda Rousey, who will be fighting Liz Carmouche in the UFC 157 main event.
Gamburyan estimates that he’ll be sidelined for three months, but will know more when he meets with an orthopedic doctor next week. “The Anvil” hasn’t competed since his unanimous decision win over Michihiro Omigawa at UFC on FOX 4 in August, which snapped a three-fight losing skid.
Now, the question is who Chad Mendes will fight instead. Though the UFC has been giving Mendes cupcake after cupcake since his failed title challenge against Jose Aldo in January 2012, “Money” is in no mood for another easy match. As he tweeted this evening:
“So manny’s out. How bout we find out who the real number one contender is @ricardolamasmma”
Considering that Ricardo Lamas just fought two weeks ago — crushing Erik Koch at UFC on FOX 6 — we’d call that matchup a long-shot. Lamas is knocking on the door of featherweight title contendership, and probably wouldn’t want to risk his place in a line for a fight against one of the division’s beasts on two weeks’ notice. We’ll keep you posted if and when Mendes gets a new dance partner for the 2/23 card.