Some have speculated in recent days that Diego Sanchez would visit the UFC Lightweight division on sabbatical; and that after two fights, he would re-emerge at 170 to challenge GSP (or perhaps Alves) for the Welterweight crown. After his most recent interview with MMAWeekly, that seems much further from the case. Diego discusses, in detail, his road to contending for BJ Penn's title. In doing so, he offers his thoughts on four of the division's best.
On his impending bout with Joe Stevenson:
"I asked for Kenny Florian right out of the gate. They gave me Joe Stevenson, but it's all good," Sanchez told MMAWeekly Radio recently. "I can consider it a better fight beating Joe Stevenson. It's the Ultimate Fighter winner, the original Ultimate Fighter winner season 1 versus season 2 Ultimate Fighter winner. We go back to King of the Cage days together and it's a great fight for me, I'm excited."
On the prospect of a rematch with Kenny Florian:
"Kenny Florian's there and Kenny Florian, he's a great fighter himself, he's came a long way and we all improved," Sanchez stated. So for people to say, 'Oh, Diego Sanchez beat Kenny Florian, that was a long time ago.' Yeah, that was a long time ago, but we've all improved, we've all evolved, and if anything I think I have evolved more than Kenny Florian.
On his improving opinion of his ability to wear out BJ Penn:
"That's the fight," he said about facing B.J. Penn. "I don't know what's going through B.J.'s mind right now, but I know definitely coming off that loss the way he did, it would be a bad time for him to fight either me or Kenny. We're on top of our game right now, and after everything he talked about GSP and then going out there the way he did. I'd have a lot more confidence going into a fight with B.J. Penn (now) than I would have before."
And lastly-- his seemingly controversial opinion on Sean Sherk being the UFC's best 155er:
"I want to be know for being able to fight in both weight classes. Cause after this fight, I'm still going to go back to my regular routine lifting weights, getting strong, and in my opinion the No. 1 guy at 155 is Sean Sherk and he's called me out already, so that's another possible fight," he commented.
Next Saturday night, Diego will have an opportunity to take his first step towards the summit of 155 when he faces Joe "Daddy" Stevenson in the main event of UFC 95, live from the O2 Arena in London England. Stevenson (29-9) has lost two of his last three in humiliating fashion, and could be ravenous in his desire to remain in contention at 155. A loss could potentially cause him to move down to the WEC. Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez (19-2), who hasn't fought in eight months, will undoubtedly be eager to make his mark in his first fight at 155. It could make for a very exciting fight come Saturday.