Ultimate Fighter 1 veteran and three-weight winner Diego Sanchez will look to make history, as the first fighter to score victories in four divisions of the UFC. “The Nightmare” hasn’t fought since an extremely controversial split decision lightweight win over Ross Pearson last summer, and he doesn’t plan on going back to 155.
In a recent interview with MMAJunkie.com, Sanchez revealed he has already started the gradual cut to featherweight, where he plans on making history:
“I think there’s some great fights down there at 145. Even right away, I’m going to be a force in the divison – right away. And I know all the 145-pounders are, ‘Oh, that’s if you make weight. If Diego can make weight.’ That’s what they’re going to be saying. But, you know what? I’m going to do it. I’m going to make weight, and I’m going down to this division.”
“I weighed out all the positives and the negatives. As a positive, I want to be one of the UFC fighters – Kenny Florian is the only UFC fighter to compete in four divisions, but he didn’t win at 185. But he competed in four divisions. I want to be the one that actually wins (in four divisions).”
Essentially 0-3 in his most recent outings, a move to featherweight has been on the cards for a while. The Greg Jacksons product has already paved the way to a grudge match with Conor McGregor, but says that he actually wants to fight Ricardo Lamas more than any other:
“The ultimate fight that I would like the best is Ricardo Lamas. … He’s coming off of a knockout loss, but the guy is a come-forward fighter. He won’t try to run. This guy fights. He doesn’t run away. He’s not going to play the ‘I’m afraid of you and I’m going to run away.’ He’s going to come forward, and those are ultimately the best fights for me that showcase my skills and give the fans the best fights.”
At 25-7 and 33 years old, this could be Sanchez’s swansong move in the world of MMA, he has looked sluggish in his latest bouts and needs a win pretty badly. Maybe this is just the decision he needs to make at this stage in his illustrious yet punishing career.
We’ve seen the New Mexico based “Dream” take some pretty severe beatings over the years, but perhaps more difficult for Sanchez to swallow is that he’s never really looked like title material. He continued:
“I’ll fight any of those guys at 145,” Sanchez said. “I want to make a run for the belt. That’s my dream, to be the UFC champion, and I’m not going to give up on my dream, despite what the haters or the naysayers may say. I’m going down to 145, and I’m going for the belt.”
With McGregor facing Jose Aldo for the belt at UFC 189, there’s not much chance of Sanchez getting anywhere near that fight this year. A few wins in 2015 and a shuffle at the top could see “The Nightmare” as a contender at some point in 2016.
What do you think?