After two consecutive losses to top ranked welterweight contenders Josh Koschek and Jon Fitch, people started to question whether Diego Sanchez was fighting in the appropriate weight class. The superior ground fighter was easily taken down by Koscheck, and then overwhelmed by Fitch’s size and strength. Why not make the move down to the Lightweight division, where he could be a big 155-pounder, as opposed to a small 170-pounder?
“Until something happens, like say me getting beat up, then I’m not going to go down,” Sanchez told MMAWeekly.com. “I know in my heart and in my mind that I have what it takes to beat (Georges) St. Pierre, (Matt) Hughes, B.J. (Penn); all those guys.”
Sanchez has never been one to lack confidence, so nobody is about to tell him what to do. And to his credit, he did rebound off those two losses nicely in his last outing, beating David Bielkheden in the 1stRound at UFC 82 back in March.
“The only thing I see in my future in this sport is to become the world champ,” stated a determined Sanchez.
However, he knows that he may have to avenge those two losses before he gets a crack at a title shot, and that doesn’t seem to bother the former Ultimate Fighter Season 1 Champion in the least.
“Rematches with Koscheck and Fitch are definitely a part of my future. Those guys ain’t going nowhere and I ain’t going nowhere,” Sanchez said.
And if he could have his way, he would love to avenge his loss to bitter rival Koscheck as the reigning Welterweight Champion. After losing to Koscheck via Unanimous Decision at UFC 69, Sanchez lost out on an opportunity to face Georges St-Pierre at UFC 74 for the top contender position, which Koscheck ultimately lost. And it has been eating at Sanchez ever since.
“If I could have it my way, a picture perfect story, I’d like to go in there and win the title from whoever it may be and get a rematch with Koscheck for the title. That’d be perfect,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez’s road to the top continues this Saturday at The Ultimate Fighter Season 7 Finale, where he will be taking on a very game Luigi Fioravanti. At a respectable 12-3, Sanchez knows that he has to be at his best against Fioravanti, and he feels that he is.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I think he’s tough. He’s more of a striker. It’s a good fight for me. He’s actually very well rounded,” expressed Sanchez. “(But) I’ve always been a ground fighter and now I’ve just took it to the next level. I want to be known as the best on the ground.”
“All my best performances…have all been on Spike (TV) and I hope to add Luigi Fioravanti to the list,” said Sanchez. “I’m looking to go in and dominate Luigi Fioravanti and see what they got next for me.”
One thing’s for sure, the 155-pound division won’t be.