Diego Sanchez is going back to the lightweight division. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Diego "The Dream" Sanchez has gone through many ups and downs in his career, along with plenty of reinvention. He started his career in the UFC at middleweight, after defeating Kenny Florian to become The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 middleweight winner. He quickly made the transition to welterweight, winning five straight in the division, but in his next four fights, he ended up 2-2. After a win over Luigi Fiorivanti at the TUF 7 finale, Sanchez decided it was time to test himself at lightweight.
At lightweight, he established himself as an even more exciting fighter. He first defeated Joe Stevenson in his UFC debut, and then had an all out war and fight of the year with Clay Guida. After his amazing battle with Guida, the UFC gave him a title shot with BJ Penn. It didn't go well. Sanchez was outdone in every way in a vintage BJ Penn performance, eventually losing by TKO due to doctor stoppage in the fifth round. The loss demoralized him, and he went back to welterweight.
His return to welterweight didn't go too well for him either. His first bout since the move from lightweight was a loss to a fairly unknown John Hathaway, and he didn't look good in defeat. He later attributed this loss to a rough time in his life, where his goals were skewed and he wasn't focused. Since then, he has "reinvented" himself, and even changed his nickname from "The Nightmare" to "The Dream". He has gone 2-1 at welterweight since the Hathaway bout, his loss coming in his most recent fight with Jake Ellenberger.
Now, it appears his loss to Jake Ellenberger was his last fight at welterweight for a while, as he has announced a return to lightweight. Here's the tweet:
— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) August 1, 2012
@joerogan there isn't anyone out there that understands Mma as a whole likeyou do! Thanks Joe, its back to 155 for me... Should be good!!
Diego's return to lightweight has been something some fans have been wanting for a while. A while back, even Dana White himself said that he wanted Diego back at lightweight. This is probably a good career move for him, as there wasn't much left for him near the top of the welterweight rankings. Now, he is a fresh new addition to the shark tank that is the lightweight division.
There are tons of bouts at lightweight that could make sense. It is important to note that Diego is coming off a loss, but the UFC has made exceptions to their rule of matching fighters coming off a win with others coming off a win and vice versa, especially in weight changes. A bout with Joe Lauzon could make sense, or maybe he can fight Jim Miller when he comes back. A rematch with Guida could also make sense, and could be another incredible fight. Sanchez' choice to return to lightweight was very good for him, and he has tons of options now. It will be interesting to see how he handles the new ranks in the division.
Diego "The Dream" Sanchez
L- Jake Ellenberger (Unanimous Decision) UFC on Fuel TV 1
W- Martin Kampmann (Unanimous Decision) UFC on Versus 3
W- Paulo Thiago (Unanimous Decision) UFC 121