Christmas will be coming early this year for Diego Sanchez as he will finally get his wish of a title shot at UFC 107 on December 12th. However, it appears that Santa believes Diego has been pretty bad this year as he is being fed to 155-pound king BJ Penn.
The Hawaiian has looked nothing short of dominant since returning to the division he once ruled back in the day. Penn has rolled off four consecutive wins in the lightweight division en route to capturing the crown, all ending in devastating finishes.
The pressure will be on, however Sanchez is up for the challenge.
“There’s going to be pressure in any fight,” Sanchez stated on the UFC 107 pre-fight conference call. “There was pressure on me when I won a state championship in high school. If you don’t know how to deal with pressure, you’re never going to be champion. This is what I’ve been working for the last eight years.”
It seems like ages ago that Sanchez captured “The Ultimate Fighter 1” middleweight crown, however this Saturday will mark his first 5Round affair. In his defense, he has competed in three different weight classes inside the Octagon since April 2005, so it’s understandable that he didn’t get a chance at a title until now.
“I think Diego’s good in all areas,” Penn said of the man that he will face inside the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. “He’s got great takedowns and jiu-jitsu and has improved his striking a lot. All that said, I think his greatest strength is his tenacity. All you’ve got to do is look at his past fights.”
Penn might want to focus on Sanchez’ past, but Diego has his sights set squarely on the opportunity of a lifetime that lies ahead. He’s been asking for it for a while and now it’s time for him to prove why he’s been pushing so hard for a shot at the strap.
“If you want to beat the best, you have to fight the best,” Sanchez said. “I suppose I’ve wanted to fight him since back when he beat Matt Hughes for the [welterweight] title. I always wanted to train with BJ, but it never happened. I suppose it was for a reason. It’s a good thing we never got together and trained. Now, we’re going to go to war. It’s going to be like chess.”
Let’s see who screams checkmate first.