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Set to fight Manny Gamburyan, Johnny Eduardo complains about long layoffs in the UFC

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Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Johnny Eduardo is finally returning to action almost one year after his last fight, and he’s not happy about it.

The Nova Uniao fighter takes on Manny Gamburyan at UFC Fight Night 100 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 19, and the fact that he wasn’t able to fight more than once in a calendar year since signing with the promotion and that has frustrated him.

"The thing that makes me upset is how long it took for the UFC to put me to fight," Eduardo, who lost to Aljamain Sterling last December, said during a media day in Rio de Janeiro. "I can’t change that. I just wish I could fight more instead of once a year. I don’t know the reason why. I keep asking my manager, bugging him. For this fight to happen, I kept asking him over and over again, and they gave me the opportunity now."

Eduardo tries not to wonder why the promotion books other bantamweights in back-to-back fights while forcing him to sit on the sidelines for so long, but it bothers him -- and he thinks that a fighters’ union would help prevent situations like that.

"It’s a bit unfair, but I can’t grow this type of feeling inside of me," Eduardo said. "I leave it in God’s hands. I want to fight, I ask for it, I do my job with the media, I go on Twitter and call people out, challenge them. … I shot many fires on Twitter, but didn’t hit anyone [laughs]. I think I even shot at Manny Gamburyan, so one worked [laughs].

"A fighter gets frustrated and disappointed because you have to use the money you’re not supposed to touch, your purse," he continued. "Unfortunately, some fighters can’t save some money because of that. We can’t show our sponsors inside the UFC anymore, so that’s an issue. But that’s how it works. Brazilians always have to break through walls, so I thank God for living this opportunity. It will get better down the road."

With a date and opponent set, Eduardo celebrates the fact that he’s fighting Gamburyan, an athlete he knows really well. In 2010, when Eduardo was still fighting in the regional scene in Brazil, Gamburyan fought Nova Uniao star Jose Aldo for the WEC featherweight title, and lost via second-round TKO.

"I’m thrilled. It’s an amazing opportunity to fight someone at Manny Gamburyan’s level," Eduardo said. "He’s fought for big promotions, and already had a big title fight against Jose Aldo. I was one of Aldo’s sparring partners for that fight, helped him in his camp. I know a little of Manny Gamburyan’s game. It’s a good fight for me. I’m very happy."

"He will try his best to use the weapons he has. I don’t think he’s one dimensional," he continued. "He’s experienced, but I train with the best, I train with Jose Aldo, I’m a Nova Uniao fighter, so I’m prepared and focused on this fight. I’m sure I’ll be well prepared wherever the fight goes."