After an unsuccessful attempt at wresting the UFC lightweight championship from BJ Penn in 2009, Diego Sanchez moved up to the welterweight division. Sanchez went 2-1 at 170, and took home three Fight of the Night bonuses during his time at 170 pounds. After a February 2012 loss to Jake Ellenberger, Sanchez dropped back to lightweight where he has since gone 1-2. That losing record and the fact that he is not ranked in the top 15 in the division has not affected the confidence of the winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in the least.
Sanchez (24-7) is scheduled to face Ross Pearson on June 7, and he is extremely confident heading into the fight which will take place in Sanchez's hometown of Albuquerque, NM. Sanchez told MMAJunkie that not only is he looking to put the upcoming contest in the running for Fight of the Year, but that he wants to lock his name in as the runaway winner of Finish of the Year.
It's doubtful that a win over the unranked Pearson will earn Sanchez a shot at the UFC lightweight title currently held by Anthony Pettis. However, if something strange were to take place and Sanchez did find himself staring across the Octagon at Pettis, he feels that the odds in that fight would be in his favor.
The way Sanchez sees it, "I feel I have everything to offer (Pettis), I just haven't got to show it yet."
When describing where he has the advantage over the champion, Sanchez said, "As far as wrestling and ground skills with Pettis, I think I'm on another level. He has some nice ground skills, too, but I feel like I'm on another level, and (with) size and strength, I feel that's a fight I win nine out of 10 times."