Manny Gamburyan has hit some speed bumps outside the Octagon since breaking out of a three-fight losing streak with a decision win over Michihiro Omigawa in August.
After being forced out of a scheduled bout with Chad Mendes due to injury, Gamburyan has now been removed from a previously expected UFC on FX 8 fight with Hacran Dias (via MMAJunkie.com). The matchup would have given Gamburyan an opportunity to earn consecutive wins for the first time since April 2010, but he will now have to be shelved until he recovers and another opportunity arises.
Gamburyan is now likely looking at around a one-year absence since his most recent appearance against Omigawa. For that reason, it's unlikely the TUF runner-up would meet a top-10 featherweight contender, but he should be paired with a big name coming off of a win.
That narrows Gamburyan's list of potential foes considerably.
Rani Yahya and Mike Brown are on the short list of notable featherweights outside the top 10 who won in their most recent outing.
While a fight with Brown brings the intrigue of a rematch, it wouldn't do much for Gamburyan until Brown picks up another win or two and gets people talking about him again. Gamburyan scored a first-round knockout in his first fight with Brown, who has gone a modest 3-2 in his five fights since.
Meanwhile, Yahya has won three of his past four fights, including a decision victory over Brown.
With back-to-back wins, Yahya is deserving of another step up in competition and needs to be tested by an opponent who is capable of shutting down his takedowns. A judo black belt, Gamburyan is that opponent and would benefit from having the opportunity to score a statement knockout against a somewhat one-dimensional opponent.
Should Gamburyan's unknown injury be a minor one, it's possible a matchup between the former WEC title challenger and Yahya could help bolster the UFC 162 preliminary card. Headlined by a middleweight title fight between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, UFC 162 is scheduled for July 6 in Las Vegas.
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