According to lightweight Diego Sanchez, UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White have told him that he will be meeting the winner of the lightweight title bout between champion BJ Penn and Kenny Florian at UFC 101.
“Guaranteed,” Sanchez told Ron Kruck on the latest edition of Inside MMA. “It’s guaranteed. After August 2nd, it’s on. I get the winner.”
A few weeks back, Sanchez took exception to the fact that the division’s top contender, Florian – who he dominated to capture the “TUF 1″ crown, will be getting his second shot at UFC gold while Diego has never seen a 25-minute title fight.
“One of the reasons for me dropping to 155 was the fact that Kenny Florian is coming up on his second title shot, and this is a guy that I walked through four years ago,” Sanchez previously stated. “And everybody thinks that, yeah, we’ve both evolved, we’ve both changed, we’re both different fighters, we’ve both improved a lot. But the fact is that I walked through him and it wasn’t even a fight…”
Florian, one to never back down from a challenge, said that he would be up for a shot at avenging one of his three losses.
“I think he’s going to be saying, ’Yes, yes, yes’ on the way into the ring and, ’No, no, no’ on the way out of the ring if he faces me,” Florian responded. “It’s a completely different time and I’m a completely different fighter. I definitely don’t think he’s evolved as much as I have, that’s for sure. He’s fought at 155 twice already and he has yet to finish any opponent.”
The debate on whether who has upped their game more since their initial meeting may be a moot point because Penn has been the class of the division since he rejoined it two years ago. The champ has gone 3-0 during that run, finishing in all three W’s.
Either way, Sanchez’ feet appear to be firmly planted as the next in line, the only question is whether he will be sitting Octagon-side inside the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania scouting his next opponent, or watching the pay-per-view from home like the rest of us.
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