Although there is much at stake in the UFC lightweight matchup between Joe Stevenson and Diego Sanchez at UFC 95, the two can’t seem to say a bad thing about the other. Perhaps it is because they seem to be cut from the same cloth, so it is kind of difficult to not like someone that is so much like yourself.
Aside from the two being very similar in stature, both can stand, but would never shy away from taking a fight to the ground. Each are also former “The Ultimate Fighter” winners that have fought in multiple UFC weight classes.
“I think we’re fairly, pretty matched even, me having been a 170-pounder in the past, too,” said Stevenson.
One advantage that Sanchez might have is that he will be coming in as a big 155-pounder. Stevenson has been a lightweight since 2007, however Sanchez fought at 170 pounds as recently as six months ago. However, the excessive weight-cutting might exhaust Sanchez, giving Stevenson a window.
“That’d be really cool if I get an advantage,” Stevenson said. “But I think Diego is such a professional that the first initial weight cut isn’t going to be a factor. I think he’s going to come in here 110 percent prepared.”
And if Sanchez comes in at 110%, believe that Stevenson will be right there with him. With title implications on the line, the pressure will be on for both fighters to perform. However, Stevenson knows that the stakes will only push each of them to compete at their best.
“Everyone has different pressure in their lives that affects them. It’s what you do under that pressure that makes you who you are. Do you fold? Do you rise to the occasion? Do you perform?” said Stevenson. “And that’s what separates Diego and myself from other fighters, we rise to occasions.”
And Stevenson also anticipates the winner of the bout will quickly rise up the lightweight rankings for a shot at the lightweight crown.
“The winner of this fight is, bar none, not only in the fan’s eyes, but in a lot of the fighters’ eyes, deserving of any title shot,” stated Stevenson.