The message from Diego Sanchez after UFC 121: I’m back.
After suffering a very disappointing loss in his return to the welterweight division in his last fight, Diego Sanchez returned home again to Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico, got back to his fundamental training and proceeded to have one of his best performances ever in a win over Paulo Thiago Saturday night.
It wasn’t an easy fight to get back on the winning track for Sanchez as Thiago looked to finish the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner early on with a D’arce choke, but the New Mexico native battled his way out with his normal ferocity.
Like a wounded animal, Sanchez woke up at that moment and dominated with a big slam on Thiago as he screamed and ran across the cage. The constant movement and attack from Sanchez started to wear Thiago down with the Brazilian looking for a breath, and Sanchez not giving him one.
Taking a page out of Thiago’s book, Sanchez took the Brazilian’s back, locked on a body triangle and started to work for a rear naked choke. Believing in his experience, Thiago survived, but was just zapped for energy as Sanchez surged once again.
While Sanchez promised a return to 155lbs after this fight, he looked none the worse for wear as he punished a legit top ten welterweight for the better part of 15 minutes.
“My motto for this camp was just earn it,” Sanchez said. “Just earn it. I worked very hard for this.”
The return to mentor and coach Greg Jackson could be a game changer for Sanchez, who had left the camp a few years earlier. If his work continues like his fight on Saturday night, Sanchez could be on his way to title contention form once again.