UFC president Dana White on Thursday said he and company CEO Lorenzo Fertitta had denied Conor McGregor’s request to fight Diego Sanchez at UFC 180 in Mexico, and now we know why. They had other plans for Sanchez.
Originally slated to face Norman Parke in Mexico City on Nov. 15, Sanchez was left without an opponent when the Northern Irish fighter had to drop out of the fight due to a medial collateral ligament injury.
UFC officials moved swiftly, however, pairing Sanchez with Joe Lauzon.
Always exciting, Sanchez (24-7), despite a return to lightweight, has struggled to build any momentum. He is 2-2 since returning to 155 pounds. He is coming off of a win over Ross Pearson, but that split-decision victory has swirled in controversy, as many onlookers believed Sanchez benefitted from the favoritism of the judges while fighting on his home turf in Albuquerque.
Equally as exciting, Lauzon (24-9) has also bounced back and forth between wins and losses throughout most of his UFC tenure, but enters the fight with Sanchez having won his last two fights, defeating Mac Danzig and Michael Chiesa.
Regardless of career aspirations, this fight is as close to guaranteed fireworks as you can get. Lauzon holds the record for the most UFC post-fight bonuses with 13, while Sanchez is no slouch in that department either, with seven bonuses of his own.